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Maureen Jeram: traditional and contemporary painting techniques

I am fascinated with both traditional and contemporary painting techniques and
feel that the combination of the two can create a powerful image. 

Maureen Jeram

We are very lucky to have artist Maureen Jeram as the instructor for the Painting Workshop at the Berlin Drawing Room. Jeram is an artist both steeped in traditional painting technique, from oil painting to egg tempera and fresco, as well as actively exploring contemporary questions. She says, "I am fascinated with both traditional and contemporary painting techniques and feel that the combination of the two can create a powerful image." It is this blend of traditional and contemporary techniques that makes Jeram's approach to teaching painting so well suited for the Berlin Drawing Room.

Jeram's own work has been described as a "productive conflict with tradition," a balancing act which "requires that the authority of ones predecessors be taken seriously, but also be able to be overcome."

Jeram's impressive art education in the USA, Italy and Berlin prepared her for this way of working. As she explains:

"In Italy at Romano Stefanelli’s studio and at the Florence Academy I trained for seven years classical approaches to drawing and painting, specializing in the use of tempera, oil and fresco. Developing a composition, mixing colors and building a realistic scene based on light and shadow are classical techniques that I learned and teach.

As for contemporary painting techniques, I trained at the Rhode Island School of Design and at the Universität der Künste Berlin with Georg Baselitz. I learned about painting as process, how to develop and use brush strokes and mark making, as well as the graphic and conceptual quality of creating an interesting image.

While traditional technique lies at the foundation of Jeram's own practice, as well as her approach to teaching, she is careful to remind us that these skills are only tools. To art students she would say: 
"Think of your skills and techniques as a tool bag which will prepare you to find your own vocabulary and personal expression in paint." 
It is this moment of personal expression that she is ultimately seeking to prepare her students for, so that they have all the tools ready to use when that moment comes. When Jeram is in her studio at work, "she has to see with tradition, but during the actual painting process she must forget or at least temporarily repress it long enough in order to let her own picture come into existence."1

And what is Jeram tackling in her studio right now? "At the moment I am working on a series of paintings of portraits and figures in spaces which fuse the real with the_uncanny," she states. Check out a couple of images below of this in-progress series!

Learn more about the upcoming Painting Workshop starting August 7, 2018 with Maureen Jeram.

At the moment I am working on a series of paintings of  portraits and figures in spaces
which fuse the real with the
Maureen Jeram

explorations into "the_uncanny"
Maureen Jeram

A couple more images from Maureen Jeram's series "Teufelssea."

"Contemplation," oil on canvas 
"Encounter," oil on canvas

  Isabelle Moffat, 2008, "Maureen Jeram: The other side of sleep"

Klara Hobza draws water

by Hallie Frost

To hone her drawing practice, Klara Hobza visits the water. Wherever she is, everyday she tries to find the closest river, lake or ocean to draw its surface. “Water forces you not to cling to landmarks” she says, and I recall some introductory art class professor referring to drawing as “mapping”. Not here.

Hobza’s Drawing Water Workshop with the Berlin Drawing Room arose out of her deep engagement with water as subject matter in combination with a long term drawing practice. Learning to draw at 14, Hobza immediately gravitated to drawing not only as a practice for creating an image but also as a tool to see. The process of drawing as a mode of perception, as well as physical activity, is for her just as important as the outcome. By focusing on the hand-eye coordination during the act of drawing, one is effectively training the hand to see.

As we walked by the Spree in Hobza’s Kiez Friedrichshain, she remarked that her drawing practice as a teenager saved her from the anguish most people, but especially women, experience as we grow into our bodies. The practice of drawing as observation allowed her to appreciate bodies as they are and not as they should be.

While the workshop will stay on the surface, Hobza’s own practice lies many meters below. As a trained scuba diver, her current ambition is to dive through Europe allowing the Rhine river to carry her from the southeastern Alps until it empties into the North Sea. Familiar with a recreational hobby that presupposes sunny coral reefs, I could only ask “Isn’t it dark down there?” To which she responded with the many other sensory experiences one must rely on when navigating in a heavy, powerful darkness where you can see maybe a few feet in front of you. In a collaboration with Basel Thomas Geiger, Hobza is creating a number of flotation devices attached to tools and talismans that will go on the journey down the Rhine just ahead of her. The way these tools will have changed in the water will affect their use to her; that they may reach her “competent and knowing due to the river they’ve both been submerged in”. This journey through water is the stuff of classic literary imaginations and Hobza comments on this, saying much of her art is invoking imagination. “The Rhine is an art on a grand scale, a Richard Serra scale” she jokes. I suddenly become aware of the world’s greatest sculptor.

The workshop will take place by the Spree Hobza visits daily. Utilizing the tools she relies on- Charcoal, chinese calligraphy ink and brushes, students will create a close study and do quick-time sketches of three different bodies of water. They’ll work to observe the mirrored image on still water, the aspects of grey, the plasticity of shadow, and the volume and shape that are often denied of surfaces. It will be three days of instruction, conversation and observation of water and undoubtedly after my brief walk with Hobza, of art.

August 2 – 5, 2018
Thursday, August 2nd in the studio, 6 – 9 pm
Saturday, August 4th at the river Spree, 2 – 5 pm
Sunday, August 5th at the river Spree and at Karpfenteich, 2 – 5 pm
Cost: 80€ + 12€ Materials Fee*= 92€
        *Materials Fee includes: A4 Drawing Paper Block, Portfolio Folder, Waterbrush, Chinese Ink, Willow Charcoal