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About Bern's work
There are two notions of speed in painting. Speed of conception and speed of execution. The mind and the body. Bern Wery reconciles the two. His compositions incorporate a ferment of speed evoking a sense of franic motivation. He dreams of overtaking time itself. A notion which can only be illusory. Although the effects are very real. Captured between two fleeting seconds, between the blinks of an eye, a picture of blue en gold penetrates the canvas and shows itself as if for a photograph. The eye adapts. The word stands still. Once again the painting has just created itself. We are on the seventh day. Bern Wery lays down his brush. Luc Delisse, Le mouvement de l'oeil, 1988
1. By a process of partitioning which compacts growth Bern Wery confirms each gesture within the interior of a perimeter which isolates it in the painting.
2. Juxtaposed, added on one against the other in the harmony of their lights and their colours these vignettes capture a moment. They arc evidence of the painter's interest in the paintings of the old masters that lie has for a long time copied.
3. Delivered up to the experience of the spirit the past is transformed into impulses. It launches an act of memory mixed with dream. The latter reduces the senses, plays with analogy, becomes lost in the drift.
4. Bern Wery bas formed modes of expression that are personal to him and which allow the subtle creative mechanisms within him the time to materialize at the tip of his painting tools. In this way lie unites his pictorial strategies with the rhythm of his mental activity giving a natural priority to what Kandinsky named so well the 'necessary interior'. Then emerge, almost unnoticed by the artist, worlds and situations that haunt his imagination and his memories: landscapes contemplated during journeys, tactile and olfactory sensations seized in the Brabancon countryside where lie has chosen to live, Biblical scenes nurtured by an inventive reading of sacred texts.
5. This is why, meticulously or, on the contrary, with extreme rapidity, carefully dissecting, or widely sweeping, lie paints with broad lines his skies, his woods, here softening lines with ink and there masking them, composing his scenes with the fine touch of rich fabrics, the unctuousness of certain lights in the half-tones of an Autumn day, suggesting with the help of scarcely sketched out silhouettes the presence of closely bonded apparitions; clusters of people, looming from obscurity or in the grip of stagnation, surrounded by convolutions reflecting far off and even more indistinct people.
6. Bern Wery's crowds The painter Bern Wery follows with rare faithfulness the quest of his own Paradise. An artist who believes in his methods, lie struggles to find, with the vibrant colours and movements of his enigmatic throngs, these suspicions of truth that his faith cannot accept as outdated currency. It is in meditation and contemplation that lie has for 15 years painted the masses in search of a far horizon that the luminosity of his colours leads us to believe must be imminent.
7. Still vibrant battlegrounds of previous confrontations, they are however mastered by a confident sense of pictorial beauties and internal organization of the painting which dedicates itself to being at the same time transparence and density, revelation and mystery, spontaneity and construction. It is this rare disposition of the painter to embrace so many contrary registers makes universal each of these restless notions like pages tom from a private diary.
8. It is said that the artist is inspired by the Bible but no religions feeling seems to be implicated in his approach. It is rather a question of a spiritual force at the service of a pictorial technique exploiting all the resources of the subject. The artist paints in oil on wooden panels. Each of his works tells a story. It is up to the spectator to decode it. Numerous pictures in small format edge the painting with larger pictures in the angles of which appear other small pictures destined, one could say, to insist on the importance of different details.
9. This very personal painting is evidence of the impetuosity of the artist who does not hesitate to splash with incandescent colours the sky and the earth, light and shade, man and nature.
10. There is certainly in the beginning of Bern Wery's approach a conscious or unconscious fascination for the Old Masters and the beginning of modem am for a time when figuration was seized from a reverberation humming with a thousand stories, where it attracted to the canvas the foam of events, secular and sacred dramas, landscapes...
11. If Bern Wery had been born in another era lie would not have been a painter but a prophet; or perhaps a painter-prophet. Since 1 have known him his painting has never ceased to announce our imminent reconciliation with the Promised Land.
12. The paintings and drawings of Bern Wery share the same brutal strength; an impatience of execution which goes to the essential, exploits the contrasts and invigorates scenes whether of the beach or of the martyrdom on Golgotha - by nervous, silhouetted presences.
13. In this figurative painter one sensed, in the jumble of bodies and vegetation, of such and such a Biblical episode, here the flight into Egypt, there a deposition; his new paintings display it clearly in the form of a triptych with its wings painted back and front in the grand gothic tradition. If in preceding versions he sometimes borrowed the romantic touch of a Delacroix it is of the great Greco that we are reminded now; Bern Wery reinterpreting in his lyrical and romantic manner the master of Cordoba while in another triptych he recalls the intense blue of Fra Angelico.
14. It is a singular personality that this painter of small tableaux (oil, acrylic) paints apparently as in former times. Multitudes of figures against landscapes, a luxuriance of colours, movement: all this swarms, trembles, crackles, evoking historical subjects, religions scenes or scenes of combat, great gatherings. Neither pastiche nor copy but a sort of poetic-pictorial commentary.