Click to see current work:  JOHN BEERMAN



Durham —Two shows, The Shape of Light, paintings by John Beerman and Places, sculpture by Stephen Costello, open at Craven Allen Gallery on Saturday, November 16th, with a reception from 5 to 7 pm, and continue through January 25.

“I have always found the natural world a gateway to the greater mysteries and meanings of life,” says John Beerman of the work in The Shape of Light, which features the intricate brushwork and subtle color harmonies for which the artist is well-known. “Whether through landscape or the human form, I try to find ways to bring forth light and life.” The show includes scenes from Italy, and across North Carolina from the coast to the mountains, as well as intimate portraits ranging from quiet studies to a monumental nude.  Several paintings depict the countryside around Chatwood in Hillsborough, and Bramasole in Cortona, Italy, homes of the writer Frances Mayes, where Beerman finds inspiration. The artist lives in Hillsborough; his iconic paintings are found in major museums and collections across the country.

Also opening at Craven Allen is Stephen Costello’s Places, sculptures of buildings from the humble to the grand, created from recycled materials in artist’s quirky, lively style. While the exhibition includes structures from Washington, DC to Key West, locals may be particularly interested in the Durham’s NC Mutual Building, depicted in its original cantilevered design (before construction challenges necessitated buttressing in the corners), as well as local icons like King’s Sandwich Shop and Ayr Mount.   The artist divides his time between North Carolina and Washington, DC; this is his first major show.

Craven Allen Gallery is located at 1106 ½ Broad Street in Durham. Gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, please call the gallery at 286-4837 or visit



I have always found the natural world a gateway to the greater mysteries and meanings of life. As a painter, I find that nature is essential to understanding the challenges our world is facing–a source of strength, and a reminder of what we are fighting for in these turbulent times. Whether through landscape or the human form, I try to find ways to bring forth light and life.  This has always required a respect for silence. The poem Still Water, by Patricia Fargnoli, really speaks to me.  As a painter, I, too, drift from each skirmish with the world/to the diplomacy of light. I hope that my paintings invite everyone to experience the power of nature, light, paint and silence. The world will be the world. I am here to paint it.


What times are these when a poem about trees is almost a crime because it contains silence against so many outrages.”— Brecht

And why not silence?
Ahead of me, Goose Pond parts pale water
and my canoe slides through into June sun, cathedral quiet,
soft plums of cloud.
A thin gauze of rain stalls over Mt. Monadnock.

This is the way I drift

from each skirmish with the world
to the diplomacy of light
as it flares off the water,
flickers among the flute-notes
of birds hidden in the leaning birches.

Would you condemn me?

I’ve already held the old bodies of grief
long past morning; leave them
to the ministrations
of the dirt-borers
who work what is finished back into the earth.

Some atrocities are beyond redemption–

you know them already–
the world will be the world no matter.
I want the blinding silver of this small pond
to stun my eyes,
the palaver of leaves to stop my ears.


John Beerman is a painter and North Carolina native and current Hillsborough resident whose work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. John received his degree from Rhode Island School of Design, and he attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. His 35-year career has garnered recognition at the highest levels of fine art. He has received several awards and fellowships including the Pollack-Krasner Foundation Award and the Yaddo Artist Colony Fellowship. His work is in the collection of numerous museums across the country, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and in the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh. Among other public collections, his work is at the Duke University Cancer Center, the Duke Endowment and the North Carolina Governor’s mansion. He also has completed several public commissioned works including an 85-foot mural for the Milstein Family Heart Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City and recently a painting for the UNC-REX Hospital in Raleigh.