Philippe Bertho, French
Philippe Bertho is classically trained, having enrolled in art school in Reims, France in the early 1990s. There, he spent considerable time studying decorative trompe l’oeil painting. Tromp l’oeil (“to fool the eye”) is a technique used by artists to create the illusion of a 3rd dimension on a flat surface. As a technique with which Bertho has grown adept, it is obvious from his artwork that he fools more than the eye - he draws one in by the heart and also quite frequently by the funny bone.
First in his class, Bertho graduated from art school with honors and then went on to paint frescoes and poster art while also working as an art teacher.
In his early work, Bertho exhibited ingenuity by including unusual materials in his paintings. Employing objects that other’s found useless. He was fascinated with his ability to bring his art alive by creating dimension..
In 1995, Bertho’s artwork garnered accolades at the Regards sur les Arts salon show, in Lamballe, France. He was well on his way to developing his unique approach to painting. His paintings cast a new look on everyday objects, transporting the viewer into an imaginative and rich world. And into his paintings, Bertho inserts mischievous characters. Each painting evolves into a “hyper-realist” world, little scenarios of his own ingenious invention.
Most recently, he is using a combination of narrative figuration and Pop inspiration. It is as if these works define the phrase, “the more you look, the more there is to see.” In an artistic sense, his technique is precise, crisp and masterful. In an imaginative sense, the surreal nature of his artwork begs the question, “What was the artist thinking when he painted this?” Perhaps the question should be, more accurately, “What are we thinking when we view his artwork?”
The tiny characters that inhabit the bizarre world created by Bertho’s paintings seem to nonchalantly accept the ridiculous situations they find themselves in, as if it is perfectly normal to read a newspaper or do a tap dance while perched inside of a bubble. Others seem determined to explore the illusory three-dimensional space of the canvas - climbing in and out of spheres as children do on a playground. It seems absurd that they are not dismayed at their surroundings - or is it absurd that we are?
Bertho’s artwork is widely collected by institutions and individual collectors worldwide, and has been shown in galleries in Europe, the United States and the Caribbean. He has participated in salon shows and exhibitions throughout France.
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