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Calman Shemi

Expressive Works of Israeli Artist Calman Shemi

Calman Shemi is celebrated worldwide for his uniquely beautiful designs and his quest to create ingenious ways of expressing the world around him. Creating sculptures, tapestries, lithographs, and paintings, Shemi has enriched the art world with a plethora of stunning pieces. His most noted innovations are his soft painting technique, lacquer paintings, and window paintings.

Shemi is an Israeli painter and sculptor who was born in Argentina in 1939. His artistic pursuits started at the age of 13 when he began working with sculptures and pottery. Under the mentorship of Libero Badii, he attended the School of Sculpture and Ceramics in Mendoza. Shemi also credits the study of masters such as Matisse, Frank Stella, Picasso, and Caravaggio as influential to the mastery of his distinct style.

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Upon graduating in 1961, Shemi moved to Israel and became an active member of Kibbutz Carmia. He remained there for 20 years working in agriculture and sculpting with mediums of wood and clay. It is here in Israel where he began a mentor-ship with the renowned middle eastern sculptor, Rudi Lehmann.

In 1977, he created the soft painting technique. This technique involved cutting layers of fabric in various colors, textures, and heterogeneous shapes then sewing them together to create strikingly beautiful tapestries. His soft painting method produced pieces that were quoted as being “reminiscent of Henri Matisse’s cutouts”.

Many of his tapestries, paintings, and sculptures are displayed prolifically in the public arena. In 1991, Shemi was commissioned by the Carnival Cruise lines to create paintings and sculptures for their ships. Some of the ships that display his work are the “Sensation”, “Elation”, “Paradise”, “Triumph”, “Conquest”, “Legend”, “Glory”, “Miracle” and “Valor”.

In 2002, Hapoalim Bank commissioned him to create sculptures and paintings for their Geneva, London, Paris, and Mexico City branches. He has also held over 70 solo exhibitions to the United States, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Japan, France, and the Middle East.

Shemi attributes all his life experiences and the world around him as material for inspiration. He seeks to replicate the human experience through imagery, much like poetry does with words. When asked about his muse, Shemi stated, “Inspiration comes from my children, my grandchildren, my wife, the people on the street, the trees, the sky, films I’ve seen and books that I have read. The muse consists of millions of diverse influences that give birth to a new technique.”

Calman Shemi still resides and works in Israel. His creations are exhibited and admired in galleries throughout the world.

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