About the Artist

My two studios, one in coastal Maine and one in the middle of the verdant farmlands of the New York’s Mohawk Valley suggest the importance of place in my finite existence. I’m in Maine because of an abiding love of boats and navigation. I’m in New York because of circumstances where my chosen "place" is a quarry surrounded by trees and farm fields, the old quarry reminiscent of a rocky coast, not granite, but significantly for my most recent sculptures, Early Devonian limestone.

These places present the subjects for my art where the process is drawing in the larger sense of the word: "To bring forth or out by design or chance, to pucker, wrinkle, lengthen, etc., as if by pulling, to produce by tracing a pen or pencil over a surface, to delineate; hence, to produce or represent as if by drawing, to formulate; as, to draw comparisons, to stretch, spread, or shape (metal) by passing through dies, by hammering, etc., to require (a specified depth, as of water) for floating; - said of a vessel, to pull or use force upon so as to cause to follow or to come down, up, out off, etc. as desired, to attract; entice; allure." (Webster’s New Collegiate Dict.1956)

My subject matter derives from the marine environment, landscape, the figure, and the physical forces of nature. Repeated linear bronze elements cast in foundry sand are pieced together suggesting three dimensional drawings of volumetric objects intended to create a tension between abstraction and representation. I endeavor, in my sculpture to create anatomies, sometimes complexly dimensional, sometimes not, allowing light and space to circulate through them.

Castings of tree branches with their irregularities and repetitions (knots, buds, etc.), rocks, and objects from my studio environment are employed in the making of my "drawings". The resulting sculptures are records of ideas, some recognizable in the case of the recent volumetric pieces, and others abstractions made from natural objects that seem to grow in a natural way in the process of drawing ("To bring forth by design or chance").

Education Professional
1967 MFA, Pratt Institute 1996 Lecturer in Art, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY
1964-65 The Art Students League 1985-89 Visiting Assistant Professor of Sculpture,
Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
1963-64 University of Minnesota 1972-85 Instructor, Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute,
School of Art, Utica, NY
1963 BA, Hamilton College 1973-83 Alternate years and 1984, Adjunct Professor,
Hamilton College, Clinton, NY
1975 Cofounder of Sculpture Space, Utica, NY
1968-71 Director, Kirkland Art Center, Clinton, NY
Fellowships & Awards
Board Leadership Award, Alliance of New York Arts Organizations
Artists' Fellowship, New York Foundation for the Arts
Yaddo Fellowship
Hand Hollow Foundation Fellowship
National Endowment for the Arts, grant for an art foundry
Ford Foundation Scholarship, Art Student's League

Copyright © 2008 John von Bergen<