INTERSTATE PROJECTS is pleased to present Fissure and Facture, Justin Berry’s first solo show in New York. Berry looks at imaginary worlds with the same sensibility that he uses to look at the real one. His photographs of video game landscapes and fantasy novel covers reveal nuanced portraits of the worlds that we long to visit but can never attain. He explores the legacy of the photograph and addresses its future at the same time. His pictures are taken with scanners and screen captures that are altered and cropped and laboriously reconstructed. In a world suffused with imagery, and with new tools for image making emerging daily, Berry does not add to the profusion of images, he refines those that already exist.
Berry scans used book covers into the computer and removes all of their text, characters, creatures, and buildings – meticulously filling the absence left behind with fragments of the larger picture. Without their fantastical subjects these images of landscapes retain their essential character, the over-saturated colors of a paradise or the ominous shadows of a dystopian nightmare, but at the same time they appear as though they have the potential to exist. The original compositions are structured around a subject and, once the subject is removed, they frame themselves around an absence, a void to be filled with our own expectations and desires.
In playing violent, war-themed, video games, Berry chooses to act against the intention of the game designers. Turning aside from the battlefield he regards the world around him as a photographer in the tradition of Ansel Adams or Edward Weston. He captures the virtual space through numerous and overlapping screenshots, composing formal observations of these fictional worlds. From afar we take them for granted as traditional photographs, an index of something true. Only after seeing them up close, where their authenticity is undermined, are we able to appreciate and notice the details, such as the gun that has been left behind or the soldiers hiding behind the rocks, reminding us that the image is an index of something else altogether.
Justin Berry (USA, 1980) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He received his BFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and TUFTS University in 2003, and his MFA from The School of The Arts Institute of Chicago in 2008. His work has been exhibited at The Pigeon Wing, the Deptford X festival in London, The Chelsea Art Museum and Interstate Projects in New York, The NEXT Fair and Rowland Contemporary in Chicago, and Barbara Davis Gallery in Houston, among other locations. From 2007-2008 he was the co-director of the artist-run curatorial space Alogon, in Chicago, IL. He currently runs the fictional exhibition space Waymaker Gallery .