(l) Wandering (detail) by Mary Bergs. collage on paper; 2020. (r) Take (detail) by Kristen Bartel. inkjet, paint, paper and plastic; 2020. Courtesy of the artists.


Wondering/Wandering: Kristen Bartel & Mary Bergs

at OS Projects in Racine, Wisconsin, USA
8 August-17 October 2020

Deftly manipulating their materials and media in both single works on paper as well as large installations of collaged “situations”, Kristen Bartel and Mary Bergs investigate how we interpret and familiarize experiences to form common meaning, particularly when our environments change or do not meet expectations. The artists seek to explore the concept of displacement, either visual or contextual, by repeatedly altering their vocabulary of images and confounding habitual ways of seeing. As a result, the viewer may not initially know where to focus or how to read a work.

Both artists push the boundaries of a familiar visual lexicon while toying with the formula of representation. They mask, add, remove and intersect visual elements in their works, interrupting common representations (like a landscape) and engaging in a kind of visual play. Yet this play is serious, as it strives to better understand our visual thresholds, the nature of our subjective experiences and cultural impulses, and our notions of place as well as self.

Originally from the Southwest, Kristen Bartel lives and works in Racine, Wisconsin where she is an Associate Professor of Art at University of Wisconsin-Parkside. She has spent her last six years devoted to her career at UW-Parkside where she continues to improve her teaching practice and advance her creative work.

Mary Bergs lives and works at the edge of Benton, Wisconsin (population 978) where she moved from Minneapolis in 2018. Bergs works in a variety of 2D and 3D media, using materials from nature and culture to create works that cultivate careful examination and appreciation of beauty found in everyday experience.

(text adapted from the gallery’s press materials)


OS Projects
601 Sixth Street
Racine, Wisconsin 53403 USA
(262) 800-3564

Saturday, Noon-5PM
and by appointment