Bergh’s translucent, abstract artworks allude to fragmented maps of places, memories, and experiences.
MINNEAPOLIS—(Nov. 21, 2023)—The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) announced its newest exhibition, “Topography”, featuring artworks from multimedia artist Lisa Bergh. Bergh’s first solo exhibition at a museum, “Topography” is free of charge and on view through February 25, 2024, as part of the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program (MAEP).
Bergh’s artistic practice blurs the line between representation and experience. For her exhibition at Mia, she presents a new body of twenty-five assemblages and four sculptures that map and organize the visual cues of place and memory through the lens of abstraction. Installed salon-style in the first room of the U.S. Bank Gallery are a series of two-dimensional assemblages that the artist refers to as her “plastic paintings.” The series assembles sheets of intensely colored vinyl that are cut, stitched, and stretched across wooden frames that simultaneously support and contain the objects. The “plastic paintings” loosely resemble a map or key, and are poetically titled with words or phrases that reference fragmented memories of landscapes. Works like Verdant Echo, and Rolling Hills and Windmills evoke the vastness and vibrancy of rural landscapes. Featuring navy blue, neon pink, blaze orange and metallic gray vinyl, the works distinctively distort light. When viewed individually or together, Bergh’s artworks are a poignant reminder of time’s fleeting, elusive nature.
Bergh’s sculptural works reference the rural American landscape through their colors, materials and forms. Marker, an assembled sculpture of white and opalescent vinyl, sits low on a diamond-shaped platform. The insertion of a single neon orange pole causes the light to refract off the vinyl and onto the walls and ceiling, recalling sun dogs and frozen fields in winter. Petite Beacon, a twelve-foot-high sculpture, grounds visitors as they navigate the exhibition. Composed of a simple wooden frame and vinyl, the sculpture sits on top of a vivid green platform, its simple gray silhouette recalling the metal grain elevators and concrete silos that dot the Midwest horizons, their stark industrial shapes landmarks against the seas of corn and soybeans.
“I hope viewers move through the gallery space and begin to recognize their relationship to art works as an experience that unfolds and changes from different vantage points,” said Bergh. “Much like the sensual aesthetic experience of moving through a landscape filled with landmarks and reference points.”
After starting her art career in photography, Bergh returns to painting with light in this eye-catching exhibition. She lives and works in New London, Minnesota and has advocated for rural arts and culture throughout her career. An art instructor at Ridgewater College, she is also the co-founder and co-curator of The Traveling Museum, an initiative that provides visual arts experiences in rural Minnesota.
“Lisa Bergh’s exhibition, ‘Topography’ is a vibrant reminder of the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program’s unique position within the broader arts landscape,” said Nicole E. Soukup, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at Mia. “It is rare to encounter platforms that bring rural artists into the national dialogue with such regularity and sincerity as the MAEP does. Lisa’s work as an artist is refreshing and unexpected, and the exhibition as a whole is a playful reminder of America’s ever-present constructed landscapes. ‘Topography’ encapsulates what Bergh does masterfully—using spectacle to create space for deeper engagement and dialogue.”
The Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program is supported by RBC Wealth Management. For more information about “Lisa Bergh: Topography,” visit ArtsMia.org.