Marie Bergstedt first exhibited in the 1970s and 80s, concentrating in large-format hand-colored photography and beginning to visually open troubling stories. Coupled with this inspection of her own and other families’ breakdowns were memories of the models she had found to help hurdle obstacles in growing up, simple people who forged a path through great challenges.
Financial necessity steered Marie on a 25-year “day job” career in fund development. However, she was fortunate to continue learning, always working at organizations with a strong visual art component until, nine years ago, she returned to her life goal of full-time art practice. Conceptually she has revived the mining of her personal encounters, telling visual stories meant for viewers to translate into their own or more-universal tales. Learning through experience that, for her, problems are best resolved through rhythmic hand movements, she has looped back to the techniques she first learned to ground her childhood. Sculptural pieces combine new stitching, crochet, and knitting with antique, used and found objects to tell and amend stories, all about people.
In the past decade Bergstedt’s art has appeared in more than 90 exhibitions, receiving 15 awards. She has been invited to present lectures and workshops at seven organizations, including the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, California College of Arts, and The Studios of Key West. Along with 37 previous books, magazines, catalogs and interviews, in 2014/2015 her work was published as the cover and 4-page spread in Canada’s Anthology of Contemporary Textile and Fibre Art, the Netherlands’ Textile Art Around the World, and in the “On View Portraiture” section of Fiber Art Now magazine. Invited for a 2015 solo exhibition at Rebecca Randall Bryan Art Gallery, Coastal Carolina University, South Carolina; future award exhibits will be held at Ann Marie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center (a Smithsonian Affiliate), Dowell, Maryland; and SomeThingsLooming Gallery, Reading, Pennsylvania.
Strongly imprinted by her Midwestern upbringing, Marie Bergstedt has maintained a base residence in San Francisco, California, for the past 35 years. Art schools, universities, colleges, and professional workshops across the country have provided a broad base to her study of traditional art techniques. While enrolled over a lifetime in art classes, her “more practical” degree was in education followed by numerous courses and 25 years of practice in nonprofit fund development, including Montalvo Art Center from 1999 to 2007. See Bergstedt’s website at http://mariebergstedtartist.com and Facebook page at https:www.facebook.com/marie.bergstedt.79