Thursday, February 11, 2010

A guest at EDGE – Lanny Bergner

During our class on Saturday we had a guest – Lanny Bergner who showed images of his art that covered almost 30 years.

I loved Lanny’s artist statement: “By using hands-on processes of coiling, fraying, twisting, wrapping, glueing and knotting, I transform industrial screening, wire, silicone and monofilament into organic constructions. My desire is to create works that appear to have grown into being. I love the natural world and am constantly inspired by its beauty and infinite varieties of form. This, in combination with my fears, quirks and joys, results in works that celebrate the wonder of it all.”

It was great to have him explain how he creates his work and how it has evolved over time. He uses wire mesh for much of his work and because of this material; it has also lead him to be accepted into the fiber art and basketry worlds, which made his presentation more interesting to me. When he told about his making art, I loved the imagery of him sitting and shredding the wire mesh or twisting the pieces of wire together in “small repetitive motions.” He says this process very meditative and gives him time to think, but sometimes he twists wire does in front of the TV, maybe so he can be around the family(?). I could put myself in his place because I sort of do the same thing with my burlap; quietly shredding, stitching and constructing the 3-D parts for hours and hours, so sometimes I need to work in another part of the house to be near Bob or just be in a different place.

Recently I have been thinking a lot about an artist I follow on-line that is producing 20-some pieces in 7 weeks for a show, or the gal that does 50 pieces a year, or the guy who welds something in 2 hours and calls it art. Not that it has to take a lot of time to call it “art,” but I’m suspicious of “art” that can get “cranked out” in a short time, I would tend to put that in the “craft” arena. But in listening to Lanny, he said his work takes a lot of time, period; I don’t think he regrets that or really even thinks of changing it, it just is. He didn’t choose to create something that was labor intensive, that’s just what came out. Somehow this calmed my inner voice that was saying “you’ve got to find a way to make stuff faster, you need to get MORE done.” No I don’t, it is what it is, and that is the process for me. All I can do is keep working, steadily moving forward.

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