Painter Lee Berger Branches Out With His New Works at The Icehouse
Local painter Lee Berger doesn't want his work to be pigeonholed. It's why the 44-year-old art scene veteran has attempted to change up with his visual style multiple times since first becoming an artist in 1992. Within the past two decades he's gone from creating simple-looking charcoal nudes to incredibly detailed doll-like paintings to geometrically complex abstract works.
The Art of Lee Berger (counterclockwise from top left): The Arizonan, What Destroys Us, The Reluctant Totem, Salvation Technique, his Tempe studio, and the artist.
And then there's Berger's latest series, currently on display at the Icehouse through First Friday, which takes the painter into unfamiliar territory. Namely, delving into sociological issues and the relationships between mankind and his environment.
Seven of his latest painting, which are featured in the downtown Phoenix venue's Silver Room, embody his feeling about the role that human play in society were a bit of a challenge in both their content and creation. He says they are not only a departure from his previous works, but involved a "exhausting process" to create.
"This series that I've done is less cutesy and is a lot more involved with social [issues] and its just about me ranting in my paintings," Berger says. "They're more about how everything that someone does can affect society or their particular environment in some way. When people think of environment, they think of nature, but I'm talking about the other meaning of environment, like their realm in which a person exists or surroundings."
Berger says his newest works also touch upon relationships, but not necessarily of the interpersonal kind. When describing the creation process behind his newest paintings, the artist discusses how they pertain to the relationships between a person and society as a whole or the role of man versus nature.
Untitled by Lee Berger
"[It's] about relationships we have with individuals or groups in society not connected to us personally or even semi-personally," Berger writes in his artist statement for the show. "These relationships and these paintings, come with reflection on societal directions and ideas."