Shaun Berke: Mythos & Logos

Shaun Berke:
Mythos & Logos
July 1-30, 2017


An exhibition of thought and memory. These paintings might seem out of place in time but that very quality is the entry point to better understand just how fleeting time really is. How we see time is bound up with how we see ourselves. We are nested in the present, always becoming. We are a moment, an everliving fire. We are ephemeral and so is painting. More important than when we take place is the fact that we do at all. In so short a time we might learn to speak across the abyss.

Look closer and we can see fragments of ‘thrownness’. What we find on the surface of a painting are stories laid to rest––mythos. Interred in the painting is reason––logos; a ghost of existence, a shrine to death. Unearthed, this word breathes new life into memory. So the revenant stirs, remembers, sees by the light of a thousand stars. In Norse, the name of The Rememberer is Mimr, a giant and a sage whose head was brought back to life by a dear friend: Odinn, who gave his eye for greater sight and claimed a draft from the well of wisdom. Odinn’s search for knowledge is reflected in Heidegger’s view of painting––that the craft of painting is in drawing up to the light from the well of being. In the depths of allegory the light of wisdom reaches ever further. However, the constellations strewn from mythos are seen only by the light of logos. As mythos dreams, logos speaks dawn.

In our age these paintings are untimely but necessary. With mythos and logos we frame the world. This work draws upon studies in Norway and wandering Paris; insight with The Alpine Fellowship and conversations in Venice; upon posthumous philosophers and fathoms of solitude. In a lecture by Johannes Niederhauser, Goethe resounds so exactly that one is left with nothing else to speak:

“The eternal strives ever forth in all;
for into naught it all must fall,
if ever in being it shall remain.”


The centerpiece of this exhibition is the 8×6 ft. oil on linen painting Pyre Aeizôon (Ever-Living Fire), which elicits from the Norse eddas a sense of modern jihadi allegory. Because of the scope and scale of the painting, we feel it necessary to issue a trigger warning for its depiction of graphic violence and recommend that viewers exhibit caution if planning to attend in person.



CV available upon request. Click here for an Extended Show Statement
Contact for more info.