Miriam Beerman

Miriam Beerman

Ms. Beerman, twice a Fulbright Fellowship winner, is a ninja on canvas and paper. She has exhibited in some of the most prestigious museums and galleries all over the world. With a big dose of unforgettable, Ms. Beerman's indelible mark runs smack into an eternal Weltschmertz.

Fierce and melancholy, as well as colorful, cheerful abstracts, are like angel and devil each engaged in an unrelenting war. In fact, her works are honest to the point of universal recognition. Said Ms. Beerman, "I'm reflecting the fear and tremblings of the 20th and 21st centuries. The issues are [global] in time. So it is that morality tales die hard." Some of her images, she added, "such as 'The Ritual of My Legs' and 'Existential Man,' even scare me and I tried not to look at them for years. I was a little afraid to expose them to the world."

Perhaps artists including Francis Bacon and Willem De Kooning felt the same way, but were unafraid their images had the strength to withstand whatever any viewer had in mind. So moving are Ms. Beerman's images that they, too, have the strength to the intellectual art-lover. Most definitely an intellectual artist, Ms. Beerman studied at the famed Art Students League in New York, the Rhode Island School of Design, the New School of Social Research and the Pratt Graphic Center, both in New York, and 10 years in Paris, France, at the Atelier 17 of Wiliam Stanley Hayter.

She was awarded many grants for her work throughout the United States. Of particular note: Ms. Beerman received one of the first one-woman exhibitions in the history of The Brooklyn Museum. A former resident of Upper Montclair, NJ, Ms. Beerman's work, also includes print-making, collage, pastel, illustration, monotypes and other mediums. She married Julian F. Jaffe, American historian, who died of a heart attack in 1973. Her son, William Jaffe, champions his now 97-year-old mother's art to this day, and gave her grandchildren to love.

"People see my 'Shower' and think I'm some kind of ogre," she said. But to see and talk to her presents a lovely face, a soft, dulcet voice, and petite elegance. Such an irony considering her art and activism rooted in Judaism, particularly the Holocaust, the Vietnam War and other striking conflicts in the world, people understand how her art breathes fire and voracity. She said she's "enlivened by painting, a stimulation that is both "energizing and exhausting."

Of her many series of scream-worthy works, she portrays beasts and insects with human heads, a creative combination of humans and animals that poetically may shoot through the viewer's head causing trephination and enduring contemplation. Where are these myriad characteristics to be discovered? Ms. Beerman's works are in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum, The Brooklyn Museum, The Jewish Museum in New York | Yale Sterling Library in Connecticut | The National Gallery of Art and The National Museum of Women in The Arts, The Phillips Collection, The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., LACMA in California | MEAM in Spain | Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge University, The Victoria & Albert Museum in England.

The works at the James Yarosh Associates Fine Art Gallery in Holmdel, NJ, mainly "Shower" and "Nothing Has Changed," are rife with seriousness, sorrow, and contemplative faces on mystifying and colorful complex backgrounds. Among us, Miriam Beerman continues to be a guru of emotion, power and excitement to the sophisticated viewer.

(Tova Navarra, artist, art historian and author)

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