Myriad Methods: Beth Bergman at Form+Content

Myriad Methods: Beth Bergman at Form+Content

Published February 21st, 2024 by Pauline Moll

'Seven Vignettes' — an exhibition of new mixed media abstractions — closes this Saturday with a reception for the artist.


Many in our community know Beth Bergman as the three-decades-long owner of Wet Paint, which my editor enthusiastically calls “the best dang art supply store around.” In recent years, Bergman’s retirement as shop owner has made space for her return to the other side of the counter. And Bergman’s art seems to match her old store in popularity — most of them sold on opening night.

In Seven Vignettes, an exhibition of artworks from the last two years, Bergman employs an abstract art-making practice that centers the physical qualities of the materials, including acrylic paint and cut paper, and explores the possibilities of mixed methodologies, including gel plate printing, painting, drawing, and collage. Each of the seven bays of Form + Content Gallery holds one of the curated groups of paintings, some exploring the same visual subject, others grouped in response to the artist’s experience that inspired them, and still others connected by a shared technique.


Top: (Top to bottom) Scribe, Barn, Cloud Shift, each 2022, acrylic and paper on panel, 12 x 12". Bottom: (From left) Close to Home - Approach & Close to Home - Nearly, each 2023, acrylic and paper on panel, 14 x 11". All photos by Pauline Moll.


My first impression of these paintings was that they were all so vivid and exciting, the kind of artworks I could stare at on my living room wall for ten years and never get tired of. The whole gallery overtook me as a wash of colors and shapes; I thought I’d like to have clothes made of these designs. As I looked longer and explored the paintings’ titles, I began to see the nuances of difference among the various vignettes. You may recognize real-world shapes among the abstract ones in Vase, Lost Goddess, and Close to Home, while A Series and Open seem to explore more medium specificity. I have particular appreciation for the collection of artworks titled Seaweed — the artist statement posted in the gallery informs me that Bergman “had some earlier paintings critiqued for being too seaweedy,” and nothing delights me quite like an artist cheekily doubling down on what they want to make in the face of silly criticism.

We are blessed indeed that Wet Paint endures and Beth Bergman is back in her studio practice. Seven Vignettes is on display for one more weekend, including a closing reception. Check it out to play I Spy in the paintings, bask in the beautiful colors and textures, and admire the printing technique. If you're lucky, some of the artworks might still be left for sale. ◼︎ 


Wanderlust, 2022. Acrylic and paper on panel, 16 x 20".


Seven Vignettes: New Works by Beth Bergman is on view at Form + Content Gallery through Saturday, February 24, with a closing reception that afternoon from 2 – 5pm.

To see more of Beth Bergman's work, follow her on Instagram @beth.bergman.

Banner image: A Song Without Words (detail), 2023. Acrylic and paper on panel, 18 x 24"

Editor's note: it's true. Wet Paint is the best.

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