Art & Literature


It all started with 100 Girls on Cheap Paper…I fell in love a hundred times!

This is the titillating title of a book I came across about 14 years ago. It is quite simply filled with expressive girls painted on ‘cheap’ or ‘found’ paper.

This mundane paper previously lived a utilitarian life – and was then reincarnated as the canvas for a soulful, beautiful girl. It is a case of Arts and Literature colliding…a case of the caterpillar and the butterfly.

Tina Berning says, "My work is the opposite of being cynical. I am exploring the inner flame behind the physiognomy. Why does one woman in a drawing look straight into our eyes, but think of something totally different. When does somebody look intelligent, afraid, sincere, certain? For this investigation, I peel the figures out of the context, nothing indicates their situation or surrounding.

Her fast work on unpredictable surfaces requires the artist to embrace imperfections. Using watercolour paints, each stroke is permanent; it cannot be fixed in layers. Embracing a blotch or a flaw, while mastering light and shadow, subjective beauty looks out at us.

In a world where women are constrained into very rigid definitions of beauty - it is reassuring and uplifting to see and celebrate such imperfect beauty.

It’s the pure stripped-down pose that reveals an expression - yet open to our personal interpretation. A few fast strokes that the observer must be able to complete. Strokes that circumscribe blank space, space to determine the image yourself, depending on your own context, history." These purposefully unfinished areas leave interpretation to the viewer, in order to 'complete' the work. The work is complete not when the paint is dry, but when the viewer experiences it in her own subjective way.

Last year, just before any news of a virus infiltrating the art world – and every other aspect of our lives – Tina exhibited at Art Toronto. I was overjoyed to be able to meet her in person, and frankly, I am now even more impressed with her art, since discovering the artist herself is truly unassuming, open-minded, and kind hearted.  

In an emoticon-obsessed culture, Tina captures the female gaze so soulfully.  Intelligent and curious women of the Whiplash Factor community may appreciate her art, which suggests there is more than meets the eye, in every woman's gaze.

In case you’ve fallen in love as well – she has an online shop and see her on Instagram

Tina Berning is an award-winning illustrator and artist based in Berlin. Her work has been featured in publications like Architectural Digest, The New York Times, and Vogue (Italia, Nippon, Germany). Her husband is a great artist too. Quote taken from Art Toronto interview.

As an Art Consultant Rachel Doner Turrin plays the role of ... matchmaker between artist and art lover.