works by Berenice
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Although we artists like to think of ourselves as completely original, there are usually influences and references to the past in art and ideas. In my own work, I find many influences, and writers, such as Eva Gatling, Joe Vojtko, Helen Harrison, Phyllis Braff, Robert Long, Ronald Pisano, Cassandra Langer, among others, have noted various relationships to past movements and artists in my work.

I grew up in New York City during the Abstract Expressionist heyday, and although I was never a real abstract expressionist (Joe Vojtko has written of my taking what I needed from Abstract Expressionism and moving it to a “new” level), I was influenced by the use of paint and the depth of emotion in artists like Willem DeKooning, Jackson Pollock, Gorky, and Kandinsky , to name a few. Other early20th century artists like Arthur Dove and Charles Burchfield also helped form my particular form of abstraction, which is a search for the core of the experience. Among contemporary artists, Wayne Thiebaud and Mary Frank hold my attention in curious ways.

Although Miro, Braque, Vuillard, DeChirico, Paul Klee Picasso, Matisse, Munch, Turner and Rousseau have touched me at times in my development, and I still appreciate them, it was the 19th Century American Transcendentalist “landscape” painters who I seemed to understand, and who informed my mature work the most.. Church, Cole, Homer, and Ryder are the artists that come to mind most easily.

It was also the exchanges during my early career with artists in the New York Art world, and the writers and musicians who were so important to me and with whom I strengthened my own vision, such as George Reavey, many of the Beat poets, musicians like David Amram. In fact there seemed to be a smooth intermingling of poetry, music, and visual art. As the only woman (until Yayoi Kusama joined us) and the youngest of the members of the Brata Gallery, one of the artist cooperative galleries on 10th Street. At the gallery, I go to know other members like Al Held, Ronnie Bladen. In my teens, the venerable Artists Club introduced me to all the abstract expressionists and discussions of painting and ideas. I particularly remember the fascination with Zen and art that we experienced. And the parties were wonderful. I would dance the night away. I remember some dancing parties at Perle Fine’s loft next door to me on 3rd Avenue as well as her house and studio across the road from where Jorge Goya, my first husband, and I built our little cottage on Old Stone Highway.

That was another great experience for me! The art scene in the Hamptons in the 60’s and 70’s was a wonderful open one, where young artists like myself were included as part of it. W e had endless parties at the beach and at each other’s homes. The artists group was smaller than today, and so we all really knew each other. Ibram Lassaw was always in charge of the fires on the beach. Kiesler would arrive with his black cape flying behind him. We were all involved in our own work, and played hard. There are too many names to mention here, unfortunately. These were my young days.

As I matured, it was people like Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, the environmentalist, who I worked with and learned a great deal from. She strengthened my involvement with primal nature, which influence remains to this day. Every experience makes additions. Recently a stay in Bali with the Balinese has intensified my concepts of nature and informed my new paintings.

Berenice D'Vorzon