With an interest in the mythological and the figurative, local artist Michael Bergt comes to Nüart Gallery with three other artists for group show Figurations. But the internationally recognized and multi-talented artist doesn't just tell the same old tale. Instead, Bergt puts a contemporary twist on mythological tales through a fresh look at power dynamics, identity and form. The work, spanning several a, is on display alongside pieces by Vincenzo Calli, Charles Ladson and Doug Smith at Nüart Gallery (670 Canyon Road, 988-3888) through Sunday July 30.
Can you tell us about your work in Figurations?
I call it The Minotaur Series. They're paintings, drawings, one sculpture is in it, and mostly they're about this dance between the Minotaur and Ariadne in principle, where the Minotaur represents the masculine and Ariadne represents the feminine, so I've exaggerated that.
A lot of your work is based on ancient myths and animalistic imagery—what inspired you to explore this part of history through art?
Essentially, those are the images that have inspired much of Western art, period. So, I'm mining them again and continuing the sort of tradition. But I also think that you can be very contemporary while dealing with ancient archetypes, and that's primarily what my interest is at this point. You know, when I take on the subject matter, I don't really treat it the way it is historically—I always tweak it, I change it and make it sort of evocative of what I think is more reflective of where we are now, and what we know now.
What can viewers learn from figurative art as opposed to literal depiction?
I base my art on actual observation from life, so I mean, I'm drawing from life anyway. So, it's representational, and I'm using the figurative as the subject matter, so a little bit of stylization happens from that simply because of the process that I do, and because I'm intrigued by the subject matter. But, it's still very representational.