Heather Marie Bergerson's show, "Devour," opened Jan. 14 in the University of New Mexico-Taos Atrium Gallery, located at Fred Peralta Hall on the school's Klauer Campus at 1157 …
Heather Marie Bergerson's show, "Devour," opened Jan. 14 in the University of New Mexico-Taos Atrium Gallery, located at Fred Peralta Hall on the school's Klauer Campus at 1157 County Road 110, south of Ranchos de Taos. If you get a chance to stop by, it will be worth a look.
Bergerson, 28, a UNM-Taos Art Department Associate of Fine Arts candidate (Spring 2019), presents a debut show of new work in painting, drawing, printmaking, mixed-media, installation, ceramics and sketchbooks. In it, she explores "feminist themes including personal agency, motherhood and female empowerment through representational and abstract modes of art making," according to a press release. In speaking with her on the phone, Bergerson said she looks at her show as "an autobiography."
This "large body of work" has been in the making for the past two and a half years, in parallel with her now 4-year-old son amid toddlerhood. The show allowed her to experiment using a variety of modes of expression. There are large oil paintings and objects made from recycled materials. "I also have some prints in here, and there's also a large wall installation," she added.
Bergerson is a student in the work-study program. "I'm more like the chair's [Sarah Stolar] assistant and I also wear the hat of exhibition coordinator," she said. She has been attending UNM-Taos for as long as she has been working on the body of work for this show. "This is actually my last semester here," Bergerson said. "I'm going to declare my Associate of Fine Arts at the end of this semester and then I move on to the main campus to obtain my bachelor's degree in fine arts." By "main campus," she means the UNM Campus in Albuquerque.
Her decision to apply to UNM-Taos in her mid-20s as a wife and mom was, she said, based on the fact she simply loves school. "That's my future career dream, to work in a university," she said. "I moved here to Taos with my husband [David Bergerson], who was born and raised here, and UNM-Taos has an amazing art department, and so, I thought, well why not?"
David Bergerson is the late Mark Bergerson's great-nephew. Marc Bergerson was a well-known artist and longtime resident of Taos who passed away in 2006 at the age of 89. Like her great-uncle-in-law, Heather Bergerson isn't content to paint pretty pictures that one might forget five minutes after you see it. Her work is edgy and in some ways confrontational. She said in some ways she uses her art to "express my fears and my emotions. It's like a coping mechanism for me to be able to deal with life. The type of art that interests me is art that really provokes some kind of emotion. The story itself may be individual to that specific artist, but I am really interested and inspired by art that everything can relate to."
The fears Bergerson alludes to aren't unfamiliar to many. They are rooted in the "current sociopolitical climate, just with the #MeToo movement that's been going on and just life growing up as a woman, and being a mother as well. Also the fears of giving birth, that whole birthing process, and, of course, personal vulnerabilities."
As her time at UNM-Taos begins to wind down, Bergerson said she wanted to say how grateful she is to everyone at the school for providing such a great support system for her. "I am really lucky to be here."
"Devour" is on view through Feb. 8.
The UNM-Taos Art Department "provides an atmosphere of immense creativity," a press release states. "Committed students acquire practical techniques and engage in critical discourse, which develops into an understanding of the importance of diversity and richness of the arts in Northern New Mexico and around the world. The department offers an Associate of Fine Arts degree and several different certificates within the various areas of the department."
For more information, contact UNM-Taos Art Department Chair Sarah Stolar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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