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Leo Saul Berk, Structure and Ornament

Leo Saul Berk, Structure and Ornament (2014), detail, plywood and acrylic [Frye Art Museum, Seattle WA, May 30-Sep 6] Photo: Paul Mitchell

Leo Saul Berk: Structure and Ornament

Frye Art Museum
Seattle WA – May 30-Sep 6, 2015

Leo Saul Berk, Clinkers

Leo Saul Berk, Clinkers (2012), Duratrans, sculptural light box [Frye Art Museum, Seattle WA, May 30-Sep 6] Collection: Frye Art Museum

Leo Saul Berk spent his formative years growing up in an unconventional house designed by American architect Bruce Goff (1904–1982). The house, in Aurora, Illinois, is known as the Ford House, and was built in 1948 for the painter Ruth VanSickle Ford. In 1980, Berk’s family moved into the unusual home – one that incorporates offbeat materials such as navy surplus rope, coal and glass cullet. The open design has a central round shape, dome-like ceiling and glass walls, and fluid architectural forms that recall natural motifs and play on the relationship of indoor and outdoor.

Berk’s years of living in this feat of midcentury architecture informed some of his earliest notions about space, material and light, influencing his path as an artist at an early age. His recent body of work draws on experiences in the house. Drawing from personal memory, historical research and conversations with the house’s current owner, Berk re-imagines Goff’s vision of radical forms through his own sculpture, video and photography, which hone in on particular architectural choices. Berk’s works emphasize the poetry in the materials and in the formal elements that make the house’s architecture so compelling and so complex.

The exhibit includes two new site-specific pieces by the Seattle-based artist, as well as the complete body of work that Berk has based on the Ford House.

Allyn Cantor


Leo Saul Berk, Mortar and Marbles

Leo Saul Berk, Mortar and Marbles (2014), glass and Corian [Frye Art Museum, Seattle WA, May 30-Sep 6] Photo: Paul Mitchell


 Fri, Jun 12, 2015