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Current Exhibitions

Ciel Bergman: The Linens

The Center for Contemporary Arts is pleased to present The Linens, an exhibition of paintings by Ciel Bergman in the Tank Garage, Curated by Angie Rizzo, Independent Curator.

February 9 - April 29, 2018

The Linens are a series of 48 acrylic paintings on unstretched Belgian linen made between the years of 1970 - 77 by Ciel Bergman. The series ranges from a starkly minimal aesthetic that defines the Spiritual Guide Map portion, to bold, graphic colors and vague abstractions to representations that explore ideas of philosophy, sexuality, and physicality. This exhibition features a selection of the series - more than have ever been shown together at one time - and the foundations of a prolific and inspired artist.


The Center for Contemporary Arts is pleased to present The Linens, an exhibition of paintings by Ciel Bergman in the Tank Garage, Curated by Angie Rizzo, Independent Curator.

February 9 - April 29, 2018

The Linens are a series of 48 acrylic paintings on unstretched Belgian linen made between the years of 1970 - 77 by Ciel Bergman. The series ranges from a starkly minimal aesthetic that defines the Spiritual Guide Map portion, to bold, graphic colors and vague abstractions to representations that explore ideas of philosophy, sexuality, and physicality. This exhibition features a selection of the series - more than have ever been shown together at one time - and the foundations of a prolific and inspired artist.

ABOUT THE LINENS

The Linens are a series of 48 acrylic paintings on unstretched Belgian linen made between the years of 1970 - 77 by Ciel Bergman. The series ranges from a starkly minimal aesthetic that defines the Spiritual Guide Map portion, to bold, graphic colors and vague abstractions to representations that explore ideas of philosophy, sexuality, and physicality. This exhibition features a selection of the series - more than have ever been shown together at one time - and the foundations of a prolific and inspired artist.

Bergman created the paintings in her studio in Berkeley, and in Eugene, OR where she was an assistant professor. The Linens mark a clear departure from the surreal and representational compositions that define her earlier works. In the midst of exploring the evolving mediums of the time - airbrush and acrylic paints - she began a process to ‘empty’. Bergman wrote, “The first efforts to ‘empty’ were made on small sheets of rag paper on a small drawing table… I worked very hard and found it painful and challenging to suppress all signifying imagery. When the work became so empty that I had no idea where I was located in time or space, I felt I could begin the ‘Guide Maps’.”

The ‘Spiritual Guide Maps’ are indeed the most empty and minimalist of the entire series and also correlate with a time in Bergman’s life when she was in some ways, starting anew. These early linens were made with the new material Rhoplex A-33, an acrylic bonding medium which was applied in thick, broad layers, causing the drying process to influence the final painting. Duchamp’s influence on Bergman became very clear to her in this early stage, “I was writing across the fields, locked into a long distance, imaginary discourse with Duchamp whom I had been intellectually hypnotized by and enchanted by for several years.” Two years into the project she travelled to New Mexico and met Georgia O’Keeffe, further influencing her pursuit of ‘emptiness’ and spiritual connection to her artistic practice.

By 1973 the series began to shift away from the starkness of the Spiritual Guide maps as more recognizable symbols began to appear in the compositions. “Rrose Selavy (Female alter ego of Duchamp) continued to be a very large Presence during the creation of the work. Because of the cognitive and philosophical dialogue between us plagued my mind, filling me with questions, doubt, puzzlement, intrigue, the signifiers began to return against my choice.”

The Linens grow and evolve dramatically over the seven years she created them; Nearly every painting a conversation with or homage to one of the several major influencers who shaped Bergman as an artist. The gesture is at once grateful and profound. The Linens take the viewer on a journey through self-discovery and graciousness, intellectualism and beauty, surrender and sheer will.

ABOUT THE ARTIST
Ciel Bergman (1938 - 2017, formerly Cheryl Bowers) was known primarily as a West Coast and New Mexico-based painter. She grew up in the Bay Area and had little exposure to art with the exception of visits to the DeYoung in San Francisco, where she gained exposure to the art of East Asia. At the age of 19 she married and moved to Germany at the time of the building of the Berlin wall. While there she visited as many of the major art museums as she could, and in turn, educated herself in the masters of Western Art. It was during this time of educational exploration that she discovered the work and criticism of Marcel Duchamp, who became a mainstay as a creative and intellectual influence throughout Bergman’s career.

Upon her return to the states, she took up private lessons and dedicated herself to the study of drawing and painting. In 1970 she enrolled at the San Francisco Art Institute for graduate studies, and simultaneously began The Linens. At age 32 while raising two small children on her own, she was going through an era of self-discovery and establishment as an artist.

Not long after graduating, she was offered a lectureship appointment at UC Berkeley where she met and became friends with the art critic and historian Peter Selz. In 1972, Bergman and Selz took a trip to Abiquiu, New Mexico, where they visited with Georgia O’Keeffe. The five-hour meeting confirmed Bergman’s path as an artist. Bergman never forgot their conversation and cites it as one of most influential moments in her life and career.

Although The Linens were never shown in their entirety, several individual works won prestigious awards such as the Society for the Encouragement of the Creative Arts (S.E.C.A.), Awarded by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Two paintings were exhibited as part of the 1975 Whitney Biennial, and in turn, launched a successful painting career for many years. She joined the faculty of UC Santa Barbara as a tenured Full Professor and remained there for 18 years while continuing to exhibit nationally and internationally.

In 1994 Bergman relocated from Santa Barbara, CA to New Mexico where she followed in the footsteps of her one time mentor, Georgia O’Keeffe by building a studio at the base of Cerro Pedernal near Abiquiu. During these years she retreated and lived a relatively quiet and contemplative life, exhibiting sporadically, but continued to paint prolifically. In 2006 she moved to Santa Fe where she flourished as an integral part of the arts community until her untimely death in January 2017.

The idea for exhibiting The Linens came about in early 2016 and was confirmed that Spring with the Center for Contemporary Arts Curator Angie Rizzo. Up until her death, Bergman and Rizzo worked together to plan the exhibition of a series of paintings that launched her career and created the foundation of her life as an artist.

Image: Poetry Plagued by Comprehension, 1974

Beverly Erdreich: Continuum

Beverly Erdreich: Continuum // Opens February 9 // Cinematheque Gallery 

Beverly Erdreich’s Continuum series takes an unflinching look at atrocities that have impacted society through incredible acts of brutality. Inspired by Francisco de Goya’s 19th century series Disasters of War, Erdreich draws direct parallels from modern acts of inhumanity to the nightmarish, abject plates of Goya’s etchings. Reproducing and enlarging a selection of Goya’s images, Erdreich then works into each in an additive and subtractive process of drawing, collage, erasure, and text. The images speak to us with an urgency to point out how little the world has changed in the centuries since Goya’s pioneering series of first-hand war reportage.

Image courtesy of Beverly Erdreich 

Tom Joyce: Tc (Curie Point)

TC (Curie Point), 2017
Tom Joyce (b. 1956)

Metalworking Soundscape, 2017
Tom Joyce with sound engineers, William Ogilvie & Peter Ogilvie

This multimedia installation from the exhibition Tom Joyce: Everything at Hand (July 27−December 31, 2017) suspends nearly 25,000 lbs of obsolete equipment, supplies, tools, jigs, fixtures, artifacts, working drawings, patterns, clay models, prototypes, books, knickknacks, signage and other objects that were once incorporated, made, used and/or laid to rest in the artist's studio. Each once performed indispensable tasks, but at some point during Joyce's 45 years of studio practice were taken out of service for a variety of reasons. Though the installation is not an inverted reconstruction of the artist's studio, it represents an encapsulation of a career path, from his first tools and experimental forgings as a teenager in El Rito, New Mexico, through maquettes of public art projects, drawings, and sculpture that facilitated the next generation of ideas to explore. Working with a hefty material, deeply rooted within a complex history of human use, the artist chose to express in this work a sense of daring weightlessness - tools hovering just out of reach, yet firmly anchored as symbolic still points around which a flurry of activity continues to extend his inquisitive reach.

The title, TC (Curie Point), refers to the French physical chemist, Pierre Curie's, discovery of the precise temperature iron loses its magnetic properties (770° C/1390° F). When iron is heated to this red-hot point, its symmetrically aligned and parallel atomic structure becomes erratic and disordered, affecting its magnetic field and resisting a magnet's attraction. This is also the temperature blacksmiths quench forged iron tools to harden them before tempering. When steel is cooled rapidly in water at the temperature a magnet releases its grip, atoms violently contract and realign, becoming extremely hard and brittle. In order for the tool to be usable, heat is reapplied to the hardened surface, softening it to a desired degree of toughness, giving steel the ability to hold a razor-sharp edge; to be flexible without breaking; to cut through and shape materials tougher than itself. The artist describes this Curie Point condition, "were attraction and repulsion flux, where softness and hardness converge, where creation and destruction are possible", as the uneasy comfort zone he has chosen to work inside while manipulating these materials, processes and universal concepts.

Several of Tom Joyce's sculptures can be viewed outside the Tank Garage Gallery in the CCA Sculpture Park.

This installation was generously underwritten by Ed & Maria Gale and the Gale Family Foundation.

Image:
Tom Joyce, TC (Curie Point), 2017 , Mixed media, tools, drawings, prototypes , 12 x 20 x 30 feet. 
Photograph: Daniel Barsotti