© Peres Projects / Beth Letain – Constantly October (2024)

Opening today (6pm-9pm) is Canadian artist Beth Letain‘s fourth solo exhibition at Peres Projects gallery in Berlin. Entitled Dumbbell, the show presents a body of new work which pursues both visual experimentation and also builds upon the artist’s ever-expanding methodology. Faced with the boundlessness of abstraction and fascinated by the possibilities contained within limitation, both in materials and in visual composition, Letain develops idiosyncratic systems and structures as a way of charting her field of action. While drawing from a deliberately limited pictorial language, made up of interlocking geometric shapes and saturated colours bouncing off a gesso ground, her work is anti-formulaic, and it is with a certain humbleness, imbued with playfulness, that she revisits the principles of her practice. Letain’s work is a fusion of restraint and abandon. Testing the limits of logic, geometric forms, and minimalist abstraction, she embraces errors and uncertainties.

Her painted shapes sometimes appear irregular, their edges uneven, or their surface built up with vigorous brushstrokes. All this lends the works an immediacy that contrasts with her otherwise meticulous and labor-intensive process, and reflects the spontaneity of her preparatory work. Each painting begins with drawings in gouache or watercolour, hastily sketched on pieces of white paper the size of an index card, a format and technique allowing for a liberating casualness and uninhibited visual research. The subsequent transition to canvas is less a transcription than a translation, as the artist strives to recapture the emotions and sensations embedded in the initial drawing. The show is an exercise in process, where Letain draws upon a shared vocabulary of elemental forms such as squares, stripes, bars, and circles, and reconfigures them into a unique visual poetry brimming with emotional nuances. Myriad pairings of shapes and colours burst forth, which she permutes and rearranges, shifting them around until they fall into place in a way that, just like the combination of a safe, unlocks new ways of seeing (on through Apr 13).

Peres Projects
Karl Marx Allee 82 (Friedrichshain)
10243 Berlin
Telephone +49 30 275950770
Mon-Sat 11am-6pm

© Peres Projects / Beth Letain – Long and Short (2024) and Plain Men (2024)