Artist and Teacher Steven Beverage’s 10-Year Love Affair with Pears
It began with the birth of his son and a graphite pear drawing.
Working artist and Gibbs High School art teacher Steven Beverage has studied, painted and created pear-themed sculptures after the 2010 birth of his child.
“I recognized immediately that this life was no longer about me,” Beverage said. “I have the responsibility of this child, it felt like a gift to me.”
This new take on life paired with Beverage’s infatuation with the “Confessions of St. Augustine,” a 13-book series written between 397 A.D. and 400 A.D. by a Christian philosopher who famously converted from pagan.
In his writings, Augustine tells a story about himself and friends excitedly destroying fruit from a neighbor’s pear tree as teenagers.
“Something about the story stuck with me and resonated with me,” Beverage said.
Since then, the pear has been his main muse for the last decade, but it’s strictly a professional relationship.
“People ask me all the time, do you like pears? Do you like to eat pears?” Beverage said. “Not necessary, I’m not a huge fan.”
The vulnerability and softness of his newborn and his discovery of St. Augustine inspired him to begin painting pears, but his most effective and meaningful expressions come through sculpture, Beverage said.
His son is 11 now, and the artist’s work has grown from peachy petals to a darker series of sculptures made from found objects.
Beverage named the series Chess Play.
The work is sharper – literally. He uses materials such as knives and sliced pears to convey trauma, a darker feeling.
For example, the Chinese proverb saying that a couple who cut a pear together will eventually split inspired “Li”, a sculpture featuring a green pear and wooden table split in half.
It’s also very personal to Beverage.
“The trauma that you can deliberately inflict upon a pear … that piece specifically is kind of influenced from a rather toxic relationship I was involved in,” Beverage said.
The table used in “Li” comes from a secondhand store, but it represents a table that sat in Beverage’s ex-girlfriend’s apartment.
He has no plans to stop working with pears. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
“I might do it for the rest of my life,” Beverage said.
See Beverage’s pear art at stevenbeverage.com.