Freehold artist Richard Berger says that in his paintings, rich with symbolism, liturgical themes, and hand-made pigments and colors, "Everything means something."
Berger, 31, has a new exhibition currently showing at The Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick.
"Novum Picturae" will be on display through Sept. 30 in Public Gallery I at The Heldrich, 10 Livingston Ave.
At the exhibit's opening reception on June 8, Berger demonstrated how he makes the pigments he uses in his paintings, made out of hand-ground and filtered minerals and walnut oil.
Berger said he makes four basic colors, and from those four, can create an entire palette of shades: yellow oxide, red oxide, black and a white lead bicarbonate.
Making his own pigments is "Better, cheaper and makes better paintings," Berger said.
According to a release about the exhibit, "Novum Picturae" is a collection of works that feature liturgical themes, landscapes, and symbolism in the style of the combine the style of the Florentine Renaissance. Several of the paintings are commissioned works, Berger said.
“Since my work is allegorical, symbolism is very important. My compositions, subjects, gestures, objects, flora, fauna, and colors are representative and hearken to a visual language that has evolved over millennia,” Berger said, in the release. “The completion of my work requires knowledge of geometry, anatomy, chemistry, and a litany of other sciences, the preparation of materials, and the execution of the final work. I pride myself in knowing the characteristics of my tools, and that the materials themselves enrich my work and make possible things that the materials of other artists cannot do.”
Berger is a 2003 graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and a 2005 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied language and philosophy. He also studied independently in Italy for three months.
For more information on Berger, visit richardbergerstudio.com.