Blood Letters O
Blood Letters AB
Blood Letters B
Blood Letters A
Commissioned for Creative Folkestone Triennial 2021
Stephenie Bergman is recognised internationally for her ceramic sculptures whose forms are grounded in everyday functionality. For the Triennial, she contributes sculptures that play on the forms and signs we associate with medicine – pills, band aids, veins and arteries, and blood types. Through their placing during the exhibition, these sensuous and beautiful forms evoke the memory of William Harvey and contribute to an appreciation of the townscape through the analogy between the anatomy of the body and the anatomy of a town.
The down to earth and sometimes humorous beauty of Stephenie’s art has always been a result of the dialogue between the latent qualities of materials and an artistic purpose driven by utilitarian need. Her early wall-hung works were made by sewing together large pieces of dyed and painted canvas. Deep spatial configurations contrasted with the tactile presence of the material. Coloured shapes floated across the surface and the straight seams pulled the canvas together like a tight drawing.
When looking for a more rigid material to work with, she tried out clay. By constructing flat slabs cut into shapes she discovered she could palpably realise ideas from her imagination. Sometimes these were playing with shifting volumes- sometimes they were motivated by a specific function and sometimes they were simply linear statements. By adding one element on to another, she made very tall ceramic pieces including a 3 metre sculpture in a stairwell in London. She has made vases, tiles, lights, screens, candlesticks, frames, garden objects -- and funny storage systems: her studio in Morocco is a mud-built farm building and she has inserted several clay panels into the walls to hold specific objects such as hat and shoe holders and a huge ladder holder.
Stephenie Bergman was born in London and studied painting at St. Martin’s School of Art. Her first solo exhibition was in 1973 at Garage, Covent Garden, London. Many solo and mixed exhibitions followed and her work is in many public collections. In 1985 she moved to Ollioules, S.France, and in 2006 to Taroudant, Morocco.
Stephenie’s work has recently been made the subject of a film by Rafael Ayala Ortega which will have its world premiere at the Creative Folkestone Triennial Film Festival 'Still Reeling' event in September.
Find more Stephanie Bergman's work.
Artist Audio Interview
Stephenie Bergman, Blood Letters O, commissioned for Creative Folkestone Triennial 2021. Photo by Thierry Bal
Stephenie Bergman, Blood Letters AB, commissioned for Creative Folkestone Triennial 2021. Photo by Thierry Bal
Stephenie Bergman, Pills, commissioned for Creative Folkestone Triennial 2021. Photo by Thierry Bal.
Audio interview by Jean Wainwright.