Written by Erika L. Block

Mary Bergs is a visual artist from Minneapolis who recently relocated to small town Wisconsin. Her formal education and training are in Social Work and Psychology, which has undoubtedly benefited her artistic practice. She became an artist midlife and has now been practicing for nearly 30 years,exhibiting her work both regionally and nationally. Mary works with many different mediums and processes, including monoprinting, drawing, collage, bookmaking and site-specific installation. Unlike artists who focus on a specific medium, Mary prefers to start with an idea and select the medium best suited to the project. She frequently uses found, altered and created objects in her work. “I am interested in how things fit together.  I am looking for associations and connections that are not obvious or readily apparent.”

In addition to being an accomplished artist, Mary Bergs is also an experienced curator. Her approach to curating is not unlike her approach to art making. “I am interested in creating exhibitions from disparate works, looking for the places where the work fits together.” She curates from a predominantly visual perspective, without a calculated theme or theoretical approach. Curating helps her to understand the thinking process of other artists, which in turn helps her to become more aware of her own process.

Preliminary Findings, collage wall

Mary’s studio practice is all about discovery.  She rarely enters the studio with a plan, preferring to allow her studio time to be about exploration and play. “Unfortunately, we tend to trivialize the idea of play and leave it behind as we become adults.  I think artists are people who have not lost the capacity to play.” It is through this play that her work emerges. It is common for her to have several pieces in the works at one time, finding it essential to her process to have multiple variables simultaneously in play. She allows herself to create without judgement, and later “edits ruthlessly.”

Initially she placed more rules and restrictions upon herself, but over time she has learned to explore and challenge herself, which has resulted in more complex and interesting work based in form, perception and repetition. New work is often constructed from remnants of old work. Merging individual works into a single piece allows them to activate one another, like a domino effect. Each piece represents thought fragments that when pieced together achieve new meaning. “For me, making work is a way of thinking and considering how our subjective experience is molded through interaction with images, objects and materials encountered in the world.  It is an associational process documenting the joining of ideas and materials; subjective and objective experience.”

Mary Bergs hopes that her work will trigger experiences for its viewers, allowing them to see something from a new perspective, and that it may result in them having new ideas and experiences of their own. To view Mary’s most recent works, please visit her on Instagram:


Images courtesy of the artist.

Erika L. Block is a professional writer and designer working exclusively with the art, music, publishing, film and fashion industries. She is also a contemporary mixed media artist.


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