Tria Gallery presents American Fragment, featuring works by artists Lauren Bergman and Karen Dow.
American Fragment features the most recent paintings from artists Lauren Bergman and Karen Dow. While the former’s work is figurative and the latter’s abstract, they are united in their reference to a mythic America. On view are works from Bergman’s Ameritopia series, in which she explores female identity through a lens of tongue-in-cheek nostalgia. Bergman uses the iconic mid-century modern architecture as backdrops emblematic of the collective optimism that pervades American ideology. Dow’s abstract work similarly uses the geometry of modern architecture and interior space to deconstruct furniture, rooms and people in a modulated color palette. Speaking to the underlying uncertainty of our current cultural climate, these paintings offer glimpses of life in the American Utopia, if only a fragment viewed through our own distorted prisms.
The romanticized suburban setting found in Bergman’s work is used not as a record of a specific place, but as a setting to an exploration of the fears and uncertainties that nip at the edges of the post-feminist landscape. By referencing the mid-twentieth century, a period that exists in the cultural memory as an unparalleled time of American prosperity, the immediacy of the issues are removed from our current cultural climate and allows for emotional distance and perspective.
Bergman’s work probes a loss of cultural optimism and the ongoing irresolution of such post-feminist issues as sexuality versus intellectualism, passivity and acquiescence versus ambition. The work courts irony and the inner narratives are playful, yet confront the conflicting expectations of contemporary culture and the intricately complex ways in which we form our identities.
Bergman grew up in Washington, D.C., before relocating to Manhattan in 1987 to study painting and design at Parson’s School of Design and The Art Students League in New York and a Masters of Education from Smith College. Select solo exhibitions in New York City include New Works at O.K. Harris Gallery, and American Dream at Makor Gallery. Group shows include Charity By Numbers and ?The War: The Anti-War Show at Corey Helford Gallery, All About Women at Carl Hammer Gallery in Chicago, and Innocence and Insight at Claire Oliver Fine Art in New York City. Bergman has been published in The New York Times, Xlr8r, Boing Boing, Fecal Face, Juxtapoz, Absolute Arts, Glasstire, and Vinyl Pulse. Bergman currently lives and works in Manhattan.
Karen Dow’s work is rooted in her search for the illusive ‘perfect’ life of domestic bliss in a beautiful home, surrounded by beautiful things. Her inspiration comes from home catalogs where everything is a fantasy, not actually reflective of real life. She finds beauty in these scenes and is able to break it down to its bare essence of color, line, patterns and space. In her work, the viewer can see his or her own surroundings, or become completely absorbed in Dow’s world. Dow sees the beauty in everyday life, but knows that nothing is as it seems on the surface and when you break it down to its core, you begin to see a whole new world.
Dow received a BA in sculpture and anthropology from Marlborough College, an MA from Brandeis University and an MFA from Yale University School of Art. She is currently an adjunct professor of art at Yale University. Her solo exhibitions include Moira Fitzsimmons Arons Art Gallery in Hamden, Ct., Bellwether Gallery, NYC and Hudson Walker Art Gallery in Provincetown, MA. She has also shown in many group exhibitions around the world and has work in private and corporate collections nationwide. Honors include the Joan Mitchell Career Enhancement Grant and the Joan Mitchell MFA Award.