John Beerman: Renewed Wonder

The evening of October 25th was a magical opening with one of North Carolina’s most prominently collected living artists, John Beerman. Predominately known for his luminous depictions of nature and landscape, he is an interesting individual who’s artistic career and practice has been a pleasure to study and acknowledge with his solo exhibition ‘Renewed Wonder’ currently on display at Anne Neilson Fine Art Gallery till late November.

House at Dusk, Corona by John Beerman

John Beerman is from originally from Greensboro, North Carolina.

“My grandparents had a cottage up in the mountains And as a very young child we would spend our summers up there. And I really attributed to my uncle, who was an amateur painter And I used to watch him paint and i was just about that tall— And I think it all started there”.

He attended university at the Rhode Island School of Design. After graduation, he was a studio assistant to Jasper Johns, another remarkable American artist who like John, is from the south.

“Early on I was the studio assistant for Jasper Johns, and that was a Wonderful experience and that was up in New York, but he was also a Southerner- so i think I related to Jasper And I saw a lot of the New York art world, which I wanted to become a part of, and it was a very very Good experience.”

Jasper Johns was a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and has also held the title of ‘most paid for a work by a living artist’ at several points in his career.

Flag by Jasper Johns

After working for Jasper, John Beerman moved to the Eastern tip of Long Island where he practiced more as an abstract painter. Along the way he felt he found the end to abstraction, and began to study landscape more, and discovered the American Luminist School of Painting, also known at the Hudson River School most commonly. This beacon of artistry is what birthed the Luminicsm art movement founded by Thomas Cole in 1825. The painters, while an informal group—were widely celebrated for their realistic aesthetic and natural depictions of the Hudson River and its surrounding, untouched habitat.

“I really discovered the landscape out there and concurrent with that I also discovered the American Luminist School of Painting- which was the 19th century very sophisticated school of landscape painting that I didn’t know about earlier, and a lot of those paintings were of the New England coast—that I went up to explore. So, it really—that move out to the eastern tip of long island kind of started me on my landscape”.

Mountain, New Moon by John Beerman

This all came together to inadvertently begin his art career—30 years in the Hudson River Valley of New York; He then moved back to North Carolina, 10 or so years ago and is now a part of the permanent collection at the North Carolina Museum of Art, and also has art work hanging in the White House!

“I think that it is at the core of what I do; It’s what I want to convey in my work—is the very specific type of light”.

John Beerman was truly a delight to interview, and hearing in his own words, talk about his life, inspirations and art practice is a must-see! To see the full LIVE interview, please click the link below: 

—Written by, Sophie Lane at ANFA Gallery