Artist profile: Melanie Berman
For artists working, living and creating in the Garden of England, nature is a key inspiration. For Melanie Berman, a Tunbridge Wells-based artist, nature’s endless colours and shapes provide ample inspiration for her artworks.
Melanie studied at Berkshire College of Art and Design from 1976-79; from there she worked for Zandra Rhodes using textiles and colour. Next studying at Canterbury University for the Creative Arts achieving BA Hons in Fine Arts, she used those opportunities to push her creative boundaries and open up new possibilities in print making.
“Colour is used in abundance to express organised chaos with mark making.”
How would you define your style?
I could define it as an Abstract Lyrical Impressionistic style, as I work to the music, I use my imagination to fuse ideas together.
What is your latest collection about?
The collection was a response to our much-needed social interaction with land and the need to plant, grow and create. The paintings are busy so that you stop and look, if only for a minute, to see what’s happening. Some areas are full of structural shapes and lines – these represent the contrast between fragile nature and human intervention.
How did you find your inspiration?
I always enjoyed painting vast landscapes but through a life-changing experience I injured my back in an accident. So I went to investigate the allotments practically on my doorstep as that’s all I could manage. I took my camera, sat, observed and recorded events. You just have to look above the tree line and at the ground, seed, earth creatures and of course the man-made structures interwoven with the land.
What are your favourite mediums?
Oils and drawing inks, although I’m mixing various mediums at the moment which works well for me.
Why did you chose the following quote for your website’s home page?
“The essential elements of our poetry will be courage, audacity, and revolt.”
This is from the Futurists. I wanted to take their passion for speed and progress with the mechanical world but use it for the natural world, as we now need those elements to save our natural environment around the world.
Do you have a favourite piece in your collection?
A painting called ‘Genesis’, in which I used wax dammar resin and pigments to paint, and oil crayons to draw lines on the wood were incorporated. Also Plots: ‘3’, ‘105’ & ‘121’, the idea came from recently dug over allotments which had started to collect pools of water in the ridges – a plant was growing and the sun was shining, reflecting off the water, basic life had started. They show the compositional complexity and colour juxtapositions within my style. Using earth colours mixed with pink-red tones I depicted the pure passion and basic fundamental connection that we have historically to the land. Bees are added for prosperity but also to make us remember that we need these tiny organic farmers.
How is your art developing?
My next collection is entitled ‘The Promised Land’, blending political reality with magic realism. Screen-printing techniques will be used to print larger blocks of coloured areas. There will be a range of limited edition prints available towards the end of the year to be shown on the web and at garden centres as well as galleries.
What would your advice be to aspiring artists?
Never give up, keep going, believe in your practice – be lucky!
Melanie Berman’s work is currently on show at the Fairfax Gallery.
23 The Pantiles (Lower Walks), Royal Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TD
01892 525525 / www.fairfaxgallery.com