Berry Klingman was born in Winfield, Kansas, grew up in western Illinois, and taught the art program in high schools in South Carolina for two years. He studied with Rudy Pozzatti and Marvin Lowe, major influences at Indiana University. Klingman joined the Baylor Art Department faculty in 1975. He directs Baylor's BFA printmaking program and teaches figure drawing courses. His work is in many public, university and private collections. He has had numerous one-man exhibitions and received awards in national competitive drawing and printmaking shows and continues to exhibit his drawings and prints nationally.
MFA, Indiana University
BFA, University of Kansas
"Trailmarker: Shodo" and "Trailmarker: Visual Language" are two series of drawings and prints that form a thematic continuation of my interest in the interpretation of mundane, everyday objects or relics, transformed into commentaries on our life activities and journeys. These objects (in this case stick forms and branches) found in the landscape, have been collected on travels, backpacking trips and hikes with my wife and son in various parts of the country over a period of five years, and represent a kind of history of time and place for me. A "trailmarker" is a directional device in the landscape discovered along the path that gives information and cautions about how to proceed on one's journey. Finding or "recognizing" a unique form in nature's great abundance of marks and patterns is a special moment or "gift." My works are created to pass this gift along to the viewer. I hope that, as Wordsworth says, "the beauteous forms" in nature allow us to "see into the life of things," "with an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy."
"Shodo" is the Japanese word for "The Way of the Brush" and refers to the discipline of creating meaningful marks through calligraphic writing that was developed out of symbols in China during the 6th Dynasty. I feel that the objects that I draw from convey a sense of symbolic meaning similar to the pictographic nature of Shodo. The "Trailmarker: Visual Language" series is the more recent group of works and is a response to the idea that art can have its own emotional and interpretative language of content and meaning that may not need words of explanation to be complete.
The most recent prints and drawings called "Edinburgh Journal" are again based on found objects in the landscape, but this time are meant to read as journal entries for events and memories. Although these works are ongoing, they were started as a series in Scotland in 2007 while I was on a summer sabbatical, working in the Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop and taking day-hikes into the Scottish countryside with my wife, Mary Lynn.
I have never understood completely why I seem to be drawn to small objects found in the landscape rather than confronting the landscape itself more directly, but that is always what I see and respond to most completely as a subject. The trial and error arrangements and the careful ordering of the objects into a relationship bring the content into focus for me. I think of the sticks as abstract, yet figurative in a gestural way. I set them up in arrangements that make their relationships play a kind of psychological, emotional, and "social" game. I enjoy seeing what range of human emotions and human "engagements" can be represented and explored with these little "pawns" or "players."
On a formalist level (which is always foremost in my thinking), the sticks become abstracted calligraphic marks balanced and composed against a field, sometimes juxtaposed as geometric lines versus stick elements that engage, dominate, suppress, confront, stop, or connect the drama and action. I mean for these works to express a personal calligraphy and sense of motive beyond their objective identity as simple renderings, confronting instead markers or moments along the journey each of us takes in life.