Calman Shemi (1939–)
A sculptor and painter, Shemi was born in Argentina in 1939. A graduate of the School of Sculpture and Ceramics in Mendoza, he was a student of the Italian-Argentinean sculptor, Libero Badii, and the German-Israeli sculptor, Rudi Lehman.
In 1961 Shemi settled in Israel and joined Kibbutz Carmia of which he was a member for twenty years. There he worked in agriculture and also as a sculptor employing wood or clay, several large-scale projects made of fiberglass and polyester are situated in various public buildings.
Between the years 1967 and 1981, his works were presented in ten one-man shows in Israel. Shemi's international reputation was launched in 1977 when Israel's President Katzir presented one of his works to the late President Anwar Sadat of Egypt during his historical visit to Jerusalem. Also Mr. Peres, Israel's Foreign Minister, chose to present President Mitterrand of France with an artwork by Shemi.
Since 1981 Shemi has lived in Jerusalem, where he creates using an original technique that was invented and developed by him, and that has been registered as a patent. His works, a new medium in modern art, are called soft paintings and are made of thousands of pieces of felt and woolen threads. Shemi replaces the traditional brush and pencil with felt and threads to create a painting of unique textures - rich and strong in content and color, yet soft to the touch.
The work process is long and complex. It includes preparation of hundreds of rolls of material of various thicknesses and colors. Numerous pieces of material are hand-cut and layered in an 'appliqué-type' work in order to "translate" or "transform" the painting, which serves as a basis, into a whole new medium. All the pieces of the painting are held together using high technology.
Shemi is the only artist worldwide who uses this technique. In 1985, when Calman Shemi first contacted the American Circle Fine Art Corp., an initial breakthrough was made for his paintings and soft paintings. Shemi's art works are found in many private collections and in various public buildings in Israel, the U.S., Canada, Singapore, Australia, Nigeria and Germany.