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About Calman Shemi

Biography

I am originally from Mendoza, Argentina, in 1939, where I started to play with sculpture and paints. I graduated from the school of Sculpture and Ceramics in Mendoza, and now use my formal education and my uniquely developed painting techniques to create original artworks distinctive from anything people have ever seen before.

When I was only 13 years old, I began to play with pottery and sculpture. I had the honor of studying under the famed Italian-Argentinean sculptor Libero Badii. He guided and nurtured my artistic spirit. I have applied the artistic and philosophical principles I learned from Badii to my work for the last 67 years, my entire artistic career.

Though sculpture dominated my earlier artistic career, in 1977, I began to develop the idea of creating new techniques, never before seen in painting. I love to challenge myself with new artistic mediums and methods. I have done so by developing original techniques of painting, entirely my own: “lacquer paintings,” “soft painting,” and “window paintings.”

In 1961, at age 20, I immigrated to Kibbutz Carmia. I lived and thrived there for the next 20 years working as a sculptor with wood and clay. After moving to this wonderful country, I had the opportunity to study under the German-Israeli sculptor Rudi Lehmann, one of the pioneers of sculpture in the Middle East.

In the last two decades, I have held more than 70 solo exhibitions in the United States, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Japan, France, and the Middle East. I have shared with the world all forms of my sculptures and paintings. My artworks can be seen on display in many public places and private collections around the globe.

The Studio

Always researching to find different methods and using different materials, I am never intimidated. I love to try new techniques, creating artworks full of optimism and beauty.

Soft Paintings

The breakthrough came around the year 1977 when I invented a new technique called “soft painting.” For many years I was the only one in the world who used it. Starting with a colored drawing, I layer fabrics of various textures and shapes and begin to interlock them to the background using a threadless 9000-needle sewing machine. The colorful materials blend, creating a harmony of vibrant colors.

Lacquer Paintings

These artworks are composed of colorful paints on a wood or metal panel that has been adorned with gold or silver leaf. After the paints are completely dried, I apply layer after layer of lacquer to the surface to give it a glowing effect. Between each coat of lacquer, I hand polish the piece to provide the surface with its uniquely shiny look.

Windows

A person is naturally curious, always wanting to look through a window, through this window, you see all kinds of things outside.

I start with a wooden box and paint the inside of it. Then I attach a hand made wooden frame to this box, and this is how I create the illusion of looking through a window to a landscape or a room. The frame is then gilded with gold or silver leaf and is layered with many coats of lacquer, using my lacquer painting technique. This particular technique creates a clear distinction between the outside and the inside — a painting with many levels.

Exhibitions

  • 1976
    Horace Richter Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 1986
    Jack Gallery New York, USA
  • 1989
    Galeria Rojo, Madrid, Spain
  • 1990
    Galerie Friedrich, Cologne, Germany
  • 1992
    Park West Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
  • 1995
    North Shore Gallery, Las Vegas, USA
  • 2002
    Gallerie Daniel Duidat, Cannes, France
  • 2004
    Galerie de la Cite, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 2006
    Blue Gallery, California, USA
  • 2007
    Galerie d'art Elysees, Paris, France
  • 2012
    Bartoux Galerie, Paris, France
  • 2014
    Bruno Art Group Singapore, Singapore
  • 2017
    Bruno Art Group Singapore, Singapore
  • 2018
    Eden Fine Art Gallery, New York, USA

INSPIRATION

Calman's Playlist "California Jazz"