Next Stage Arts
09:00 AM - 11:59 PM, every day through May 14, 2023.
When Simi Berman begins a painting, she consciously avoids having an idea in mind. This is a deliberate departure from her previous approach as an illustrator, both in three dimensions (clay figures) and in drawing.
Now, in this latter period of her life, she allows spontaneous gestures to lead her where they will on a path of discovery and surprise, walking a tightrope between the conscious and unconscious mind. In the process there is the need to relate and balance alternating with the desire to throw things off a predictable course.
Working with collage, Berman uses a myriad of forgotten bits and pieces that she collects as she goes along; something of interest from the point of view of graphics or texture. She is particularly inspired by fragments of old posters ripped off the ancient walls that she comes upon during her trips to Italy. The urge is to create new life for these old fragments.
Born in New York City, Simi Berman attended the High School of Music & Art as a music student. She feels that having had no formal training in visual art has allowed her freedom in the creative process.
For many years, her humorous terra cotta wall hangings were sold in galleries throughout the United States. This three-dimensional work later developed into a line of cards and prints with similar themes using watercolor and pen.
In 2000 Berman illustrated two books: At Grandmother’s Table (Fairview Press),and an Italian children’s story, Buon Natale, Natale (Franco Maria Panini). Berman initiated a program at Brooks Memorial Library where children’s book illustrators exhibited their behind-the-scenes work so children could see the actual process involved in creating the illustrations for their favorite books.
In 2003 Berman took a class in Art & Meditation with Barbara Campman (a past Next Stage exhibitor) at The River Gallery School, which changed the course of her path in art, leading to her current, more spontaneous approach. In addition to oils, watercolor and gouache, Berman works with collage, often combining bits of paper and found material with painting.
The Next Stage Gallery is open during events in the theater and by appointment.