OS Projects is pleased to present the playful and incisive works of Kristen Bartel and Mary Bergs in Wondering/Wandering. The show opens on Saturday, August 8 and continues through October 17. There will be no opening reception for this exhibition due to the ongoing pandemic. Masks are required to enter the gallery and view the exhibit.
Deftly manipulating their materials and media in both single works on paper as well as large installations of collaged “situations,” Bartel and Bergs investigate how we interpret and familiarize experiences to form common meaning, particularly when our environments change or do not meet expectations. The artists seek to explore the concept of displacement, either visual or contextual, by repeatedly altering their vocabulary of images and confounding habitual ways of seeing. As a result, the viewer may not initially know where to focus or how to read a work.
Both artists push the boundaries of a familiar visual lexicon while toying with the formula of representation. They mask, add, remove and intersect visual elements in their works, interrupting common representations (like a landscape) and engaging in a kind of visual play. Yet this play is serious, as it strives to better understand our visual thresholds, the nature of our subjective experiences and cultural impulses, and our notions of place as well as self.
About the Artists
Originally from the Southwest, Kristen Bartel lives and works in Racine, Wisconsin where she is an Associate Professor of Art at University of Wisconsin-Parkside. She has spent her last six years devoted to her career at UW-Parkside where she continues to improve her teaching practice and advance her creative work. Bartel’s work has been recognized and exhibited primarily as a printmaker throughout the United States, with exhibitions and residencies in Canada, Ireland, Portugal and Dubai. Recent solo exhibitions include New Work at Frank Juarez Gallery in Milwaukee and Water Works at the Sharon Lynn Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield, WI. Bartel is the recipient of a 2016 Artist Fellowship from the Racine Art Museum.
Mary Bergs lives and works at the edge of Benton, WI (population 978) where she moved from Minneapolis in 2018. Bergs works in a variety of 2D and 3D media, using materials from nature and culture to create works that cultivate careful examination and appreciation of beauty found in everyday experience. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions regionally and nationally. Her public art projects include storefront exhibitions, traveling, impermanent installations and text walls. Bergs is the recipient of grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and Jerome Foundation. She has had residencies in the U.S. and abroad, including the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center in Nebraska, the Vermont Studio Center and Odysseys in Costa Rica. From 2015 to 2018, Bergs curated and programmed Gallery 71, an alternative gallery space she created in an apartment complex in Edina, MN.
About OS Projects
OS Projects is a contemporary art gallery in downtown Racine featuring visual artists in solo and small group exhibits. The gallery’s primary focus is on artists living and working in the Chicago-Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee urban corridor. While the range of media the gallery presents is broad—encompassing painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography, video/film and installation—the exhibited artists are unified in their engagement with topical issues, experimentation with materials and processes, and adherence to craft.
The building that houses OS Projects was designed by the award-winning Milwaukee firm, Johnsen Schmaling Architects.
OS Projects is located at 601 Sixth Street, Racine, Wisconsin. Gallery hours are Saturday, 12 – 5 pm, and by appointment. For more information, please visit the gallery website: osprojects.art.
The image that accompanies this press release shows a detail (on the left) of Wandering by Mary Bergs, collage on paper, 2020. On the right is a detail of Take by Kristen Bartel, inkjet, paint, paper and plastic, 2020.