“Inter-Connected”
Mixed media collage
30 x 22 inches
2017
$3,500
“Cone”
Mixed media collage
17 x 14 inches
2017
$1,500
“Spartan”
Mixed media collage
17 x 14 inches
1998
$1,500
“Spartan” (detail)
Mixed media collage
17 x 14 inches
1998
$1,500
“Egret”
Mixed media collage
17 x 14 inches
2010
$1,500
“Toward Infinity”
Mixed media collage
14 x 11 inches
2017
$1,000
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Bio Synopsis

Beverly Brodsky studied under Ad Reinhardt at Brooklyn College. On that first day in 1960 he told his class to simply paint the large blank canvases on their easels, and then left the studio. He returned a few hours later, paused by Brodsky’s easel and asked, “Who taught you how to paint?” Before she could stammer a reply Reinhardt answered his own question, declaring, “You must have known all along.”  Brodsky recalled, “Reinhardt constantly taught commitment. He never used the word but that’s what he taught, not technique.” Upon graduation in 1965 Brodsky was awarded best in her class. For the next three years she taught art to children at P.S. 257 in Brooklyn, and was impressed by the freedom and exuberance in the children’s works.

In 1975 she gave her first lecture on “The Language of Imagery” — about the relationship between the illustrations in her children’s books and her abstract canvases — at the University of California, Berkeley, and a few years later would give that lecture again at Harvard University. At the same time, she continued to write and illustrate. Her children’s book — The Golem(1976) — would become the most successful of her eleven books. The Golem was praised in The New York Times Book Review:  “Words can only suggest how different [this book] is from the kind of kiddie-Kitsch celebrated by critics and prize committees during an average publishing season…Brodsky is resolutely mystical, just the kind of holy terror who can make herself at home with spiritus mundi and the miraculous.”2  The Golem won the Honor Caldecott Medal in 1977. Surprisingly, despite having been reprinted many times, in 1993 The Golem was censored by the elementary school libraries in Newburgh, New York, after a first-grade teacher complained that its images of religious persecution under the pogroms were too “threatening.”  After a year-long legal battle Brodsky’s The Golem defeated anti-Semitism and won its permanent place on those bookshelves. 

In many ways, Brodsky’s research into mythology and symbolism for The Golem proved a powerful and enduring catalyst for the development of her paintings and collages. Its mysticism joined with numerology, alchemy — and the primal mark-making of non-literate cultures as found in cave paintings — to become part of a vocabulary that has continuously flowed into her works.  

Brodsky has taught painting and color theory at Parsons School of Design (a part of The New School) since 1980. She has also taught at Cooper Union and Adelphi University.

Artist’s Statement

Around 1990 I had a vision. I found myself sitting on a ‘moon bank’ looking out into multiple, alien worlds that appeared layered and strangely colored. Some of these were the colors of magma as it is rising from the earth or plasma radiating from the sun. These distant surreal landscapes kept unfolding and emerging in dynamic unexpected ways. The contrast of cold versus hot atmospheric elements — and the immediacy necessary to depict these found worlds that had visited my imagination — simultaneously erupted on and with paper. Collage came about because I needed to find new materials and more tactile forms to realize a new way of seeing. 

Although, Spartan was the first of my collages, Toward Infinity is the result of this distant memory. These were the beginnings of my adventures with both papier collé and painted collage. Disparate images or dislocated landscapes seemed to play on the surfaces of my compositions. In Egret pasted materials represent objects and figures arranged aesthetically in much the same way I might paint a formal composition on canvas.  Later on, I was determined to create found images — images that made me feel uncomfortable or edgy. Inter-Connection is one of these which ‘sound’ describes a noisy clash of events with heightened high-pitched pastels. Noise from the West Side Highway, fire trucks, alarms, horns, and screeching wheels are part of the persistent cacophony of the city. 

In 1990 I visited Berlin, Cologne, and Monchengladbach where I was commissioned to create 100 works on paper. When I returned home I continued my collages. The destruction of the wall, check-point Charlie, the underground, bullets still lodged into brick, maps of death camps, and my meeting with a woman who called herself Eva Braun was an unreal experience I shall never forget. Much of what I experienced during this defining moment found its way into my work. I incorporate found objects along with pieces of painted paper as well as pastel surfaces and scraps of textures and other materials. These are juxtaposed and often combined with gesso used as a binder instead of paste. This allows me to build and layer the surfaces as relief to create depth. As I reach into the unconscious realm I employ automatism, like the surrealists, as a method to achieve authenticity and truth. 

– Peter Hastings Falk

Read the full backstory about Brodsky here.