Calman Shemi, sculptor and painter, was born in Argentina in 1939. A graduate of the School of sculpture and Ceramics in Mendoza, he was a student of the Italian-Argentinian 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 10 one-man shows in Israel. Since 1981 Shemi lives 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 “Applique-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 paintings are held together using high technology.
Soft paintings by Shemi are hung, among other places, in the permanent collection of the Spertus Museum of Judaica, Chicago, the Fashion Institute New York, the King David Hotel, Jerusalem, One Denver Place, Denver, Citibank Corporate Offices, New York, The Jerusalem Theatre Digital Computers, Israel, Bank Leumi, Israel, Bank Hapoalim, Israel, the First International Bank, Israel, Weightwatchers Corporate Headquarters, Farmington Hills, Michigan Gorgio Executive office, Beverly Hills as well as in private residences and public buildings in Israel, France, Singapore, Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Canada, Spain, Germany and the United States.
Following an order by Carnival Cruise Lines of Miami for their new ship “Sensation”, Shemi has created prints and paintings for all 1200 cabins, and large murals for the public areas. In addition to his soft paintings, the artist is also working in the mediums of painting on canvas and large scale works on paper, etching with painted silk paper, lithographs, ceramics, jewelry and sculptures.
Calman Shemi has achieved an art expression that has received international acclaim and acceptance.