Melding abstraction and realism
This story was featured in the July 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art July 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art July 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
MIA BERGERON grew up in New York City surrounded by modern art. Her parents were graphic artists, and she was a regular visitor to the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Her interest in drawing and painting came naturally. When it was time for college she enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, where there was also an emphasis on modern art. But a few art-history classes she took sparked a growing love for classical painting. After a year at RISD, Bergeron was accepted at the Charles H. Cecil Studios, an atelier in Florence, Italy, where she spent three years painting and drawing from life. She pored over classical paintings by Titian and Velázquez and became more and more interested in the subtleties of the human figure.
Today the artist, who lives in Tennessee, is known for her expressive figurative work, which melds her early exposure to more abstract art with her classical art education. As this story was going to press, Bergeron had just learned that she received a certificate of excellence at the Portrait Society of America’s annual competition. She cites the honor as one of her proudest accomplishments; she persevered for seven years before being accepted into the competition.
In a solo show opening at Robert Lange Studios in Charleston, SC, this month, Bergeron displays her ongoing stylistic approach of marrying realism and abstraction. “I’m experimenting with how many lines and boundaries I can lose and still create a recognizable figure,” she says.
Her major inspiration often springs from depicting the female form, expressions, and emotions. “I find that portraying women feels as if I am holding a mirror to myself, painting my own gender as subject matter,” she says. “It brings up questions of beauty, fragility, and strength. I am an artist, but I can also empathize with the sitter, and I think this distinction brings an element of surprise to the work.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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