The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2004, BFA
School of the Museum of Fine Arts | SMFA
Throughout the ages, every civilization has developed a concept of beauty in relation to the natural world, and more specifically to the human body. This concept is rooted in the assumption that there exists an objective ideal.
I believe that this definition is deeply flawed, not only in its incongruity to the reality of human existence, but also because it exemplifies the most ordered and, thus, least interesting examples from that reality. In my experience this perspective lacks the depth of poetry that emerges through tragedy, suffering, corruption, and the more base aspects of human experience.
I see human beings for what we truly are: Petty, grasping, lecherous animals motivated by the desire to feed our own egos and to ensure that our bodies are comfortable while we do so. We do this in a vain and misguided attempt to buy a few hours of distraction from our impending demise. Our flesh is corrupted by disease, pollution, war, gluttony, starvation, “the persistent ravages of time,” and ultimately by our own deaths.
But I see beauty even here. I submit that it is a truer, more universal and poetic beauty: A beauty rooted in pathos, anxiety, self-examination, fear, fascination, and pain.
My sculpture confronts this dichotomy as I strive to break down the false god of idyllic physical beauty, and raise in its stead an understanding of what it is to be human: thoroughly debased, flawed, and impermanent, but simultaneously pitiful, intriguing, and precious.
Jesse Berlin, MFA
Jesse Berlin has been an avid sculptor from early childhood. He received a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in Sculpture from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale where he specialized in highly detailed figurative sculpture. While at SAIC he worked at the International Museum of Surgical Science as the curator of the Anatomy in the Gallery exhibition, constantly changing showcase of medically themed, contemporary artwork. Upon graduating from SAIC, Jesse was recruited into the Maxillofacial Prosthetic Technician training program at the Bronx Veterans Administration Medical Center in conjunction with Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York where he advanced his skills learning to make complex and highly realistic facial prosthetics.
Jesse has exhibited in numerous prestigious galleries across the country and has received several awards for his work. Most recently he was featured in Conjoined IV, the annual sculpture review at Copro Gallery in Santa Monica, as well as the 2013 Arizona Biennial at the Tucson Museum of art. He has also shown at such venues as the DeVos Place Convention Center, Limner Gallery, and Daniel Martin Diaz’ Sacred Machine.
He now resides in Tucson, Arizona where he continues to produce provocative and visually arresting works of art addressing the raw physical truth of the human condition.