Artwork Title: Broken Hearted I Wander for the Loss of my Brother

Broken Hearted I Wander for the Loss of my Brother

Rachel Berman

...Eventually, our interview touched on her subject matter. Berman is a painter of anecdote. The largest painting, fully two metres across, positions two characters in a huge, empty Dublin apartment. The echoing space between them is palpable. 'It's my brother and his partner. You know, I'd been searching for him for my whole life, and I finally found him. Then he died... Actually he was killed.' Rachel is matter-of-fact about this, and much else. Another bears the title 'Preface to a twenty-volume suicide note'. A third shows her father, gazing into space, a cigarette burning down in his hand. 'Actually,' she revealed, 'it's a composite of both my fathers - my real father and my adoptive father.' Slowly I become aware of the bars on the window behind him. The scene is a mental hospital. I suggested that most of her characters seemed to be gazing into the existential void. Many of the smaller studies are based on people she sees lining up outside her window - her studio is on the second floor above the welfare office. Others, tiny portraits mounted on steel plates, portray victims of Irish Republican Army violence. There is a void there. But Berman gives each of these losers her loving attention. She searches for that touch of humanity in the most intractable faces, and she finds it. The subject of these paintings is actually her search, not their gloom. 'The pictures are autobiographical,' she notes. 'They are all about me, trying to find out who I am.' Currently, she's at the start of a new chapter.... (
Uploaded on Jun 11, 2017 by Suzan Hamer

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