Christian Berman


Christian is an artist/designer/writer.  He was born in Mexico City, spent much of his life in New England, and has lived around the world and worked in a variety of fields.  He graduated with a masters in landscape architecture from RISD in 2010, and has been maintaining an art practice in Bushwick ever since.  His website is www.cruizberman.com

 "If life is a vast broth of random acts and tangled reactions, making art is how I chart my way through the soup. Because I was forcefully removed from my homeland and family at a young age, I became accustomed to localizing my identity within a precarious juncture of memory, fact and fiction. My work draws from personal histories of migration and adaptation, and is made with a distinctly poetic methodology. Materials, memories, ideas, and emotions are distilled and reconfigured. These configurations are partly improvisational, and guided by the whims of my subconscious, but they are also exercises in formal and abstract experimentation. The eventual goal is to build a language of materials and symbols that provides moments of surprise, humor, and reflection, both for the viewer and for myself.

My recent work is partly born from the struggle between the homogenizing power of technological globalization and the innate human desire to assert one's uniqueness. What is the role of the tribal, the communal, and the artisanal in a society where the click of a button can connect you to the rest of the world, and global media conglomerates dictate the styles and cultural norms of millions? Working in Bushwick, which is heavily industrial and concrete-covered, but also somewhat tribal in its culture, I felt a desire to incorporate the colorful, raw, and sensual influence of nature. This in turn has become a fascination with the symbolism of soft and sharp, real and artificial, and ominous and safe. My stylistic influences are wide, from the perspective and mood in Japanese ukiyo-e printing, to the direct and tragic-comic nature of mariachi ballads and mexican folklore, to the confrontation of indigenous, European, and even Tibetan Buddhist spiritual symbology. These all form a backbone that supports forays into new methods of working with abstraction and iconography.

Much like the internet, my work forces the viewer to examine what is exotic and what is commonplace, as well as what is authentic and what is fabricated. Feathers act as brushstrokes, found objects become molds for painted sculptural elements, and paint is used in a way that both references as well as questions the history of the medium as a form of communication. I am interested in the ways that these materials engage the viewer's understanding of history, progress, and time. For example, the feathers or stones used in the work may seem the most natural, but if we dig deeper, we can remember that the acrylic and rubber in the pieces are derived from petroleum products, which in turn came from decomposed organic materials like dinosaur bones. At its essence, my work is a reaffirmation that reality and life are nothing but what we make of them."