Art

Development as an Artist

Initially, I was a fabric artist whose work grew out of traditional crazy quilting techniques. I was particularly known for my extensive embroidery and bead work. As a fabric artist, I have had one man shows in Ann Arbor and Plymouth, Michigan as well as in Durham, North Carolina.

Approximately 10 years ago, I began to do more work with photography and most recently have been focusing on collage. In 1999, I had a show at Schoolcraft College.

Current Artwork

My current artwork has been primarily photomontage where I incorporate details from photographs and other art into new configurations. Often extensive research goes into developing the art I create.

My work is a montage that is created by literally cutting out the pieces which are incorporated together. It is not digitally designed using computer graphic programs.

Office Art Gallery

The following pieces of my art are now on display in my office on campus.

You Forgot That I Was a Seed; a piece of art by Steven L. Berg

You Forgot That I Was a Seed incorporates a scientific illustration from Curtis’s Botanical Magazine (1902) of a navy bean, a nineteenth century medical illustration of a human heart, a detail from Sasha Schneider's Triumph of Darkness (1896), and government photographs of several plants in the genus Phaseolus vulgaris. The Greek at the bottom of the image is a quote by Dinos Christianopoulos (b. 1931 which translates to "You did anything to bury me, but you forgot that I was a seed."

Tribute to Rachel Wilcox Liberaqcki; a piece of art by Steven L. Berg

In Tribute to Rachel Wilcox Liberacki, I focus on Rachel Wilcox Liberacki's teaching. Pictured is one of her classes from c. 1930 as well as the portrait taken when she married Alexander Liberacki in 1931. As a married woman, she initially had to leave her teaching position because married women were not permitted to teach, but she was later able to return to teaching. In 1965, she earned her certification to teach students who were then referred to as "mentally handicapped." The image of Woden has special significance to my grandmother's family because, if you believe what is written in the Saxon Chronicles, he is her 50th great grandfather. Woden was a strong advocate of advancing knowledge and once sacrificed himself on the Yggdrasil tree to gain knowledge of the ruins. The image of Wooden was drawn by Lorenz Frølich in 1895.

Labyrinthine Doublespeak; a piece of art by Steven L. Berg

Labyrinthine Doublespeak was inspired by a comment by my friend the Reverend David Grant Smith. The piece incorporates a nineteenth century medical illustration of a skull that has been elongated as well as the medical illustration Seyakuin Kainan Taizozu (c. 1798). The labyrinth was created using a maze program. The spiders are from The Genus Poecilotheria: its Habits, History and Species (1840), C. L. Koch's Die Arachniden : Getreu nach der Natur abgebildet und beschrieben (1831-1848), Frederick O. Picard-Cambridge's Arachnida. Araneidea and Opiliones (1897–1905) and an illustration drawn by Carl Wilhelm Hahn (1786-1835). The administrators appear in a series of pieces on which I am now working.

St. Francis and Animals from Medieval Bestiaries;   a piece of art by Steven L. Berg

The background for St. Francis and Animals from Medieval Bestiaries is a photograph I took in my back yard where St. Francis overlooks the turtle pond. The animals in the piece are taken from a variety of medieval bestiaries and other manuscripts.

Horror Story; a piece of art by Steven L. Berg

Pedro Cortes organized an exercise to help the class better understand the horror genre. As part of the exercise, we were to write or sketch a horror narrative. I enjoyed the exercise so much that I turned my sketch into Horror Narrative. This background is Harlech Castle which was originally published in William Finden, William Henry Bartlett, and William Andrew Chatto's The Ports, Harbours, Watering-places, and Picturesque Scenery of Great Britain: Illustrated by Views Taken on the Spot (1840). The figure in the foreground was drawn by Juan Valverde de Amusco in 1559.

There's More to Us than Surgeons can Remove; a piece of art by Steven L. Berg

In July 2016, while listening to "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" from the Broadway musical of the same title, I heard Alan Jay Lerner's lyric There's More to Us than Surgeons can Remove as if for the first time. I immediately thought of butterflies flying out of Rembrandt's The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632). The background is a photograph I took in my yard.

Untitled; a piece of art by Steven L. Berg

This Untitled piece incorporates a nineteenth century scientific illustration of a beaver skeleton and Jindrich Štyrský's Comte de Lautréamont (1939).

Mosque of Mohammed Ali; a piece of art by Steven L. Berg

The background for Mosque of Mohammed Ali is a photograph taken by Wilhelm Hammerschmidt during the 1860s. The individuals who appear in the piece were photographed by Paul Frecker, Hippolyte Arnoux, H. Delié et Cie, and an unknown photographer during the nineteenth century.

Removing Obstacles; a piece of art by Steven L. Berg

The focal point for Removing Obstacles is the Hindu god Ganesha; the remover of obstacles. Ganesha is a patron of the arts and sciences and is associated with wisdom and intelligence. Below Ganesha is the sacred symbols Om written in Sanskrit. The lotus flower is an important symbol in Hinduism as well as Buddhism because it grows from the muck into a beautiful flower. The background is Jacob August Riis' Talmud School in a Hester Street Tenement taken at the end of the nineteenth century.

Tribute to Michelle Obama; a piece of art by Steven L. Berg

Tribute to Michelle Obama was inspired by Michelle Obama's 25 July 2016 speech at the Democratic National Convention. The background is an 1846 photograph of the White House. Obama is standing on the front porch watching her daughters in the front yard. Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln, and John Adams are looking out of the windows of the White House. The slaves picking cotton and the slave in front of the cabin are photographs taken in the nineteenth century. The ellipse behind the slave cabin is from a list of slave owners who hired their slaves out for the purpose of helping build the President's Mansion. In the lower left corner is a photograph of Sergeant Samuel Smith, his wife, and their two daughters. Smith served in the 119th US Colored Infantry. This is the only known portrait of an African American union soldier with his entire family.

Satipatthana 09; a piece of art by Steven L. Berg

Satipatthana 09 is from a series inspired by the Gautama Buddha's Satipatthana Sutta, a discourse on mindfulness. The series was intended as a reflection on mindfulness and pieces such as this one did not necessarily use the images suggested by the sutta. The image is inspired by the understanding that swans are plane animals while peacocks are brilliantly adorned. However, it is the swan who is able to move swiftly toward its goal because it is not encumbered by attachments.

Baptism; a piece of art by Steven L. Berg

The background for Matthew 3:16 is "Wade in the water," a postcard of a river baptism in New Bern, North Carolina (c. 1900). After doing so photo manipulation on the background, I intersted details from a variety of paintings depicting the baptism of Jesus. These include: John the Baptist is from a mural painted by the Kongsted Workshop on the wall of a church in Ballerup Denmark, c. 1440. Jesus is from Leonard da Vinci's The Baptism of Christ (c. 1472). God and the Angels are from Domenico Ghirlandaio's Baptism of Christ which was pointed as a mural in the Cappella Tornabuoni in the church of Santa Maria Novella which is located in Florence, Italy (1468-1490). The Holy Spirit was from Giusto di Giovanni de' Menabuoi's The Dove of the Holy Spirit (1360-1370). The men on fish represent the Red Sea and the Jordan River. They are from a Theophany icon showing Jesus' baptism. The fish are from an Armenian icon that depicts Jesus' baptism.

Portrait of Dr. Berg's parents with the Christ child.

This is the last portrait I did of my parents Lorain and Judy Berg in November 2007 just a week before my mother died. It incorporates photography as well as mustard seeds which have significance in both Christianity and Buddhism. The image of the Christ is from our family nativity set.