Berman explores abstraction within expanded painting with her wooden sculptural paintings. She selects her chosen rustic or smooth surface and begins by adding layers of gesso, then ink, acrylic oil or wax, anything that feels relevant. Coats of paint are applied over and over, increasing as the inner voice is excavated. Her wooden paintings tussles with the paint, layers are not just added, but also removed, completed work then bears the scars of this process. There is, she hopes, a deeply relatable organic resonance to touch and sensory experience. The paintings are testament to the natural order of things and to lives lived, with love, passion, pain, fears, bravery, and belonging becoming implicit that give us the ability to enter a state of being. She often refers to the rustic worn marks as important life marks of knowledge. Seeing all her paintings as journeys, as they have come to terms with maturity and acknowledge the exchange of energy in the consecration of time and space, her art connects them to all things. You could say that the marks are akin to a genetic coding or a perception of nature and our own ecological consciousness but they could also stand as the pages of a journal or inner landscapes.
Her large abstract landscapes paintings use themes that relate to spirit of place, belonging and the functionality of nature that transcends boundaries. Acknowledging the natural order of nature and the commercial modern man within it. Berman explores the language of abstraction within landscape painting, using different perspectives and bold organic or geometric shapes and patterns. The colourful painted aesthetic bring spatial ideas, new beginnings, a sense of community with a ecological consciousness and thinking. The colourful patterned landscapes usually contain floating objects depicting the transitional, as in time and the durability of nature and places we only inhabit for a while in life.
During Covid she has explored the iconography of outdoor entertainment theatrical outside locations. Charting the thrills, spills of the circuses funfairs and theatres into objects, or sculptural paintings. By recognising and acknowledging the escapism they offer whilst extending their spirt of adventure, internalising the essence of thoughts and actions. The resulting works hold underlying narratives of ecological issues and spatial ideas. For example, the painted structures of the travelling show, scuffed in transit, building-up an organic painterly history. Her large clean lines paintings relate to the structures, skills, acts, clothes and the props and the precisions needed to entertain. Constantly reinventing themselves and moving on within society to different locations. The paintings explore acts of showmanship in society and nature. This in-turn links to contemporary conditions, for example, the way we seek validation through social media becoming in a way our own performers who are adapting to different locations.
Melanie Berman: Biography
Melanie Berman (b. Surrey, UK) lives and works in East Sussex. She graduated from the University for the Creative Arts with a BA (Hons) in Painting (2008), and from Berkshire College of Art (1980) Fashion Design. She has exhibited widely and has been awarded various commissions including such as SMC Design, London. Most recently she has exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy (2020-2021 - 2022), and at the Royal Academy, London (2019 -2021 ). Featured in the Royal Academy Calendar 2021 - Wells Art Contemporary Exhibition 2021. She is currently exhibiting at the RSA 2022 .