Robert Bergman: Portraits, 1986-1995 opened on June 18 in the Harrison Photography Gallery at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Read and Listen: The Complex Portraits of Photographer Robert Bergman by Euan Kerr, Minnesota Public Radio
In 1985, Robert Bergman began to work in color, using both the saturated and muted hues of the city and his subjects’ attire to achieve a rich, painterly idiom. He spent the next twelve years making a series of monumental portraits of Americans, with no special lighting or equipment, only a finely tuned sense of form and his ability to establish a rapport with his subjects. By focusing on their penetrating gazes, downcast eyes, or distant stares, he depicts individuals, not types, revealing their strength and delicacy, as the distinguished art historian Meyer Schapiro noted. Placing their faces at the front of the frame, Bergman leaves little room for background distractions while clearing a path toward the recognition of his subjects’ psychological complexities, as well as their remarkable range of emotions. Viewed together, the photographs form a provocative series that speaks not only of the physical presence of these individuals but also their psychic states. This exhibition of thirty works is the first major presentation of these portraits.
The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington. It runs through Sunday, August 22, 2010, in the Harrison Photography Gallery at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Images: Robert Bergman, American, b. 1944, Untitled, 1990, Inkjet print, printed 2004, Anonymous Gift. © Robert Bergman
Robert Bergman, American, b. 1944, Untitled, 1989, Inkjet print, printed 2004, Anonymous Gift. © Robert Bergman