Direct Experience, the creative productions of Zalman Berkowitz

Artist Statement

the pivot between actions like metaphors be with you.

I play with lines that intersect patterns

flowing rhyme rhythms through mythical transitional

imaginal, liminal

structure my art

practice like grammar for my

words of color, line and tone.

this is my language, then:

I make marks.


I make marks.

I love the process of making.

feeling my hands on tools, making choices, planning, development and happy accidents.

My art practice has become over time a method of self discovery, filled with curiosity, challenge and delight. There is something about it – the act of making with its tactile environment – smells and textures and chemistry — lush color, soft buttery paint on a sable brush caressing the warp and weft, gliding down the tooth of a surface.

And this ‘ART’ making, this ‘purposefully useless’ object, this creation of the indefinable…

The repetition of mark making to build up a form, the burning desire to see an image — or how the story goes…, to solve a puzzle, the right force to make the right impression and the unexpected surprises throughout the journey of making.

How easy some things fall together! How difficult some things can be!

This consistent challenge of adapting to an environment that integrates multitudinous influences. Oy.

My art practice is sometimes a context for social and intellectual engagement.

A friend I bring with me in quiet spaces. An intimate of discreet perception, this deliberate creation.

In this studio life I find often a warm welcome, a reprieve from the storm, an affirmation that all weather is beautiful.



with Paint I am exploring surface as well as my familiar territories of domain, boundaries, color, texture, line and pattern. Focusing more on the handmade, the unique, the imperfect in my practice… those marks which can not be machine replicated easily.

Playing with surface has me following natural patterns that already exist in the materials I choose for a particular work…  i.e. woodgrain on prepared panels or overpainting on garage sale found surfaces. {Would Grain series link}

Interactive painting series like the {Creative Destructions} invite patrons to participate in the birth of the work by scraping and pulling strips of tape: Destroy the surface image and reveal the underlying structures, Creating the finished works.

Small Works series {Change Agents} features the adventures of a select group of diminutive radically organized paintings, sometimes witnessed in groups planning their next adventure… 

with Text  and new media I am still playing with words as vehicles for sound, changing contexts, evolving meanings as I explore symbols and the environments I find them in.

with Photography  the {Current/Sea} photo series explores pattern and context in the natural world and built environment. I am interested in those liminal spaces in between meanings… the grey areas that seem obvious, most abundant and simultaneously open to multiple interpretations. I am thinking of this work as the ‘dark matter’ of my observable environment.

‘Current/Sea’ explores what I call the ‘message behind the marketing’ and the humor I find in this shared adScape, our visual culture, a psychological version of our built environment. These images often inspire some writing and then come together in a zalMania BlahG post, ideas on their way to the artBook.