A Cultural Kaleidoscope

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Spontaneous Collaboration

Paint splatters on the canvas as people of all ages from the Syracuse community join in Michael Berman’s live interactive painting. As part of the exhibition at the Delavan Gallery entitled “Real Places, Imagined Spaces,” Berman adds an extra creative element and invites the public to paint alongside him and his exhibited work.

This collaborative segment became part of his show to bring people together to create a unique work of art. After 23 years of exhibiting, this tie-dye wearing, former hippie still has what it takes to show that space can warp into other places via the imagination.

In the warehouse next to the main gallery, an 8.5 x 20 foot vinyl canvas stretches across the wall. Participants bring their own materials or use the endless mop buckets and mason jars filled with paints, brushes, pastels, spray paint, and markers. After four weeks, the once blank canvas has evolved into a collage of mixed media with found objects, graffiti, a portrait of Van Gogh, ink drawings, signatures, and expressionist paint splatterings reminiscent of Pollock.

Berman’s own smaller canvas next to this one has morphed as well, into a pulsating geometric field of brightly contrasting colors. His large abstract paintings are composed of oil and acrylic on a variety of materials, including burlap, corrugated cardboard, vinyl, and cork. These mediums add texture to the works, as the bold, vibrant turquoises, magentas, and purples come to life. The shapes play off of each other creating a feeling of movement, similar in composition to Matisse’s paper cut-outs. Through the use of shadowing, unique perspective, and tromp l’oeil, the forms seem to dance and fall through the canvas.

These spontaneous works of art explore the beauty and mystery of space seen and imagined. Creativity is an ever-changing process and neither an artist nor his work is ever truly finished.


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