Silvy Scherr showed an early interest in drawing and painting and continued to pursue and cultivate these interests well into adulthood. A subject the artist is accustomed to explore often is the lonely soul, the individual who probes his or her own company even surrounded by other people and inside the city masses; his and her own peace in spite of the frenetic mass. These individuals seem to grant a peaceful level to the painting which does not belong to the contemporary and urban world. The obsessive attraction of catching the instant will prevail forever and guide the artist to flow into representations that make any detail significant, memorable and mesmeric. Like the exquisitely painted scenes in her latest series, with men and women walking on the street. There, the instant stands still. And, even though, in some of her painting works, there are not a depicted people, the observer can still perceive they have human qualities.
The artist also paints miniature portraits and scenes which perfectly capture pieces of the world and man’s and women’s relationship to his and her surroundings. On one level, the paintings attempt to speak to the loneliness of the human condition and the need for social connection, on another level, they endeavor us to view loneliness as the essence of being human.
Born in Marrakech, Morocco, my family moved to France and then to Israel. After completing my military service there, I set out to travel throughout Europe and the U.S. with a back pack. I met my husband in Miami and being living in Coconut Grove since. I began my artistic career doing miniature drawing with ink than I developed a love affair with oil paint. I preferred working with palette knives with thick layers of paint. Luckily, I still get to visit my family overseas.
I am most drawn to ordinary people and their daily activities. My process is one of continuous experimentation with paints and mediums. My approach is mixed media work with subjects in motion. I first build surfaces on which the figures are integrated in the space around.
In this interview, Silvy Scherr talks about her painting, her inspiration and the evolution of her art work over the years.
ME: How would you describe your technique of painting?
SC: I constantly experiment with new surfaces, paper, canvases, wood, tiles and glass. I also texturize my surfaces to make them appear rough and weathered. I prefer paint that have been mixed with other colors, rather than using them right out of the tube. My paintings appear to have multiple colors, but in effect my palate is kept minimal.
ME: Has your style changed over the years?
SC: I absolutely changed over the years, always evolving. I used to draw miniature seeing in ink and studied sculpture in Miami Dade Community College, but evolved to an oil painter and now I paint in acrylic. Once, I elevate the quality of the painting subject, I move on to revise to newer and fresher work.
ME: Your last series has both a painterly and photographic quality to it. How would you describe your work to someone who hasn’t seen this series before? What are you trying to communicate with it?
SC: My paintings capture the alluring space between abstractions and realism. Mostly, I strive for action and movement in the figures. My work has a feeling of suggestive anonymity, but they embodying energy and movement in the space.
ME: What are the most important influences that have moved you as an artist?
SC: My instructors has parlayed to me that less is more. My previous instructor Sonia Maria Martin used to refer to a composition with too many colors as “too much sugar”. My present instructor Baruj Salina, emphasizes light and deemphasizes clear lines. Consequently, the paintings have interest and a sense of mystery. In the end, this method enhances the emotional impact of the subject matter.
ME: Where do you turn for creative inspiration – travel, cultural references, books, the web, etc? Do you begin with a visual in mind that, in the process of creation, transforms itself to be something quite different?
SC: All of the above. Anything could trigger an inspiration. A shadow, a shape, texture, a movement, a color, a thought…. I do begin with a visual in mind some times; in the midst, I may transform the finish work to something completely different. I let it be, I let the creative process take over.
ME: Which other artists or other creative people do you admire? Do you find yourself more attracted to work that is not like your own, or work that has similarities to yours?
SC: I am attracted to myriad of famous work, and also by many obscure artists. I like contemporary work made with new twists and fresh techniques.
ME: Do you like criticism/feedback or do you like to figure it out all by yourself?
SC: I love criticisms and feedback, it stimulates my creativity, but most importantly, it makes me a better painter.
ME: What are your goals as an artist?
SC: My goal as an artist is to improve and come up with new ideas. Also, I would like to work on my marketing skills in order to exhibit beyond Miami.
ME: What do you think is going to be your next project?
SC: My new project is take an old successful series of playful silhouettes and give them a sophisticated look. I would like to invigorate this series and to revise the aesthetic observation. That would be my goal!
ME: Thank you Silvy for the interview.
© 2012, María Espinoza. All rights reserved.