Martha Berry is a painter, a designer, a builder and a punster. Every year she puts on an art exhibit in her spacious studio on the second floor of the garage that she built herself out behind her house. She invites her students and fellow artists to join her in the show, which she calls: Avante Garage.
Martha’s painting, much of which is done alla prima, has a lush, spontaneous, facile quality that makes the viewer want to paint. Her life studies are frequently done in public places – the swimming pool or the park – and, because they are painted in the moment, their imperfections bring a strange joy to the eye as it picks up on Berry’s light brush, acute observation of color and shadow and her improvisational brilliance.
Berry’s landscapes demonstrate the infinite variety that can be brought to a single subject. An extended stay in Detroit resulted in a huge series of small paintings of the Rouge Plant, the giant steel works built by Henry Ford that could be seen in the distance from the apartment where she stayed. These studies, now in several collections, are testimony to the capacity for change in something “static.”
After receiving her training in art at Eastern Michigan University and in Florence, Italy, Martha Berry has applied her visual and mechanical skills in graphic art, set design and construction for television and film and the design and crafting of custom cabinetry and furniture for private clients. At present she is settled into her second floor studio in Nashville, where she intends to focus, at last, on her first love: painting.