Roberta Berman

ROBERTA BERMAN’S UPBRINGING IN NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND around the corner from the original Newport Jazz and Folk festivals. To witness this slice of music history as well as to experience her small, homogeneous town turn into a multicultural gathering every summer, created an indelible impression that showed up in later years in both choosing to live and raise her son in New York City, and in her body of work called “Sound Sculptures.” Ever since she placed a large wood carving in the Brooklyn College garden and witnessed people spontaneously performing on her sculptures, Berman has been working with “Sound Sculptures” as her primary art form for over 10 years.


“Through the language of sculpture, and throughout the work-process of sculpting, I am embarking on personal discovery.”


Her “Sound Sculptures” are sculpted in wood and enhanced by carving, ink drawing and painting, and interactive pieces that become a synthesis of figurate sculpture and archaic forms of musical instruments, each with its own range of sounds. Embodied in the sculptures are slit-drums, mbrias, chordophones, idiophones and ocarinas. It is here where her love of the musical instrument forms and her training as a classical sculptor has merged, inadvertently echoing an ancient art form, where she fuses in limitless fashion.

Berman has had both solo and group shows in and around New York City, including The Gallery at Lincoln Center, Studio Gallery 88, NYC., Bank Street College gallery and auditorium, and The Anne Reid Gallery, NJ. Since 1996, Berman has collaborated with drummer and performer David Pleasant (www.davidpleasant1.com), who has performed original compositions on her instruments at numerous events, such as “Marie Christine” at Vivien Beaumont Theater (1998/2000) Out of Doors Festival (1999); “Kwanzaa Celebration” at The Museum of Natural History, NYC (2000); the Broadway plays “Golden Boy” at Town Hall (2001), and “Crowns” at Second Sage in Battery Park City (2002); Harmony on the Hudson (2002); “Young Scholars” program at The Schomberg Center (2002); Forces of Nature Dance Co. at Brooklyn Academy of Music (2002); and “Meet the Artist Series” at Lincoln Center (2002).

She received a grant from the CBE Time Warner fellowship, and her works have been reviewed in Experimental Musical Instruments magazine. A documentary video named “Jazz with Sculpture,” which covers Berman’s work and her collaborations with musicians, was aired on MNN Cable TV. Her works are commissioned and are collected by patrons worldwide.

Berman earned a Ms.Ed from Bank Street/Parsons, and a BA in Fine Arts and Education from Hunter College. She currently teaches sculpture at the Bank Street School for Children where she has created a sculpture and musical instrument-making curricula for children, ages K-8; and serves as an advisor and guest instructor at the Bank Street Graduate School. Berman also teaches staff-development courses in the public school sector.

Her “Sound Sculptures” can be seen by appointment at her studio in Manhattan, and she can be reached at rberman8[at]verizon.net.

artistic statement
Each sculpture is a reflection of the journey I experienced while creating it. Through the language of sculpture, and throughout the work-process of sculpting, I am embarking on personal discovery. Though the piece is tangible and the process manual, these are the means by which I am stepping out of the present day into the world of my own aesthetics, experiences and timeless spirituality.

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