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Pat Berger

Artist Statement

What influence being Jewish has had on my work as an artist, is something I cannot really define. I do know that we are all the result of our background and experiences.

As a second generation secular Jew being brought up in New York and later California, I was completely integrated into American life, or so I thought. And yet, there was a need for personal identity, and perhaps, that is why empathy played a profound role in shaping my vision. I sought out the lonely, outcast elderly people along the Venice Beachfront. These people were invisible to most. Later that led to a prime subject, for many years, of documenting the plight of the homeless in our cities as a consciousness raising statement.

But it was nature that sustained me. I did a series on Women and Their Biblical Environment, researching the plants of the Bible as well as studying Biblical stories of the women and connecting them together. That helped me to get in touch with my own spirituality and Jewish identity.

From there, close ups of plant life from exotic bromeliads to cacti, studying the intricate forms and structures of these plants, and how they had some of the same humanistic characteristics, became the source for my paintings.

More recently, a residency at an art colony in Costa Rica, with its lush landscape, complex jungle plant life and misty cloud forests has provided me with yet another perspective, and a further insight between nature and spirituality.

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