Ellen Chisdes Neuberg's early educational background is in classical piano and theater. Born and raised in New York, she studied theater at Syracuse University. She taught piano since age sixteen, worked as an Editor at CBS-TV with daytime network programming, and was a director for musical theater before finally landing in Pittsburgh in December of 1969, her 6th move in 9 years.
Neuberg began to paint in 1970. Active in various Pittsburgh arts organizations, she presented "pop up" exhibits in vacant spaces for them. She also participated in a co-op gallery at Becks Charter Oaks in Greentree with members of the South Hills Art League. As a volunteer in the group of hospitals, now UPMC, Neuberg supported transplant patients with art therapy. She painted with hospitalized children for the Children’s Hospital Christmas Card Project, which she headed for a few years. Neuberg directed the Upper St. Clair Cancer Drive for many years and set up antique appraisals and art exhibitions for the American Cancer Society.
From 1979-1989, Neuberg spent 17 days each month on a boat cruising the Chesapeake Bay in the summer months and the Florida Keys in the winter months. (She even designed and built a trawler with a Naval architect in the Netherlands.) In 1989 Neuberg decided to return to college. She received a degree in psychology from Chatham in 1991 while interning in Art and Music Therapy at Western Psychiatric Institute in Pittsburgh. In 1995, with prodding from a dear artist friend and mentor, Donna Hollen Bolmgren, Neuberg opened her own art gallery and GalleriE CHIZ was born. For twenty-two years, Neuberg represented, exhibited, and befriended a cadré of artists from all over the world.
After formally closing the gallery in October, 2017, Neuberg is now a full time artist and most days can be found painting in her former GalleriE CHIZ mosaic storefront//studio in Shadyside. In 2018, she began a series of paintings titled “Missing Persons”, since so many figures appear in her abstracts, often unintentionally. Magazines such as; Elle Décor, Architectural Digest, etc., feature beautiful environments for people to inhabit, but never show people in these rooms. To poke fun at this, Neuberg decided to “get rid of the people” in her abstract paintings. She eventually realized that many of these paintings also deal with the loss of people in her life as she has aged.
While she was conjuring up a title for an upcoming exhibition, the word “puzzlement” came to mind. A notorious reader of mysteries and solver of puzzles, Neuberg's seventh grade teacher actually refused to count books she read if they were more mysteries! "Puzzlement" is also the title of a spoken song from the musical comedy, “The King and I”, originally performed on Broadway, with both utter confusion and humor, by Yul Brynner playing the role of the King of Siam, and is still available on YouTube.
The paintings in Neuberg's “Puzzlements” series deal with the ways our lives, and our world, seem to be in a constant and often complex state of change. Her daily art process is simple. She paints. The painting grows. Each addition determines its direction. She loves color, shape, some recognizable, some not; diverse images and colors that are encouraged to live together, “to marry”, in the boundaries provided by the canvas. These objects acquire their own personalities. The use of transparencies, particularly in the “Puzzlements” series, allows a visual penetration of what might appear behind the scenes; behind the seemingly happy and colorful facades, to perhaps reveal what mysteries may be hidden underneath... possibly as an analogy to human lives… exposing deeper truths for the viewers’ interpretations.
View images from Ellen Chisdes Neuberg's 2020 BoxHeart Exhibit, Missing Persons & Other Puzzlements.