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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Charles Bergen

Biography

Charles BergenCharles Bergen received his BA in Architecture from Yale College in 1985. In 2012, after 22 years as an architect he decided to pursue his lifelong passion of sculpture. His career in sculpture started with two summer residencies at Salem Art Works in Salem, NY. In October 2013, Bergen made the transition to being a full-time sculptor. Over two years, Bergen has explored a range of sculptural media, materials, and subjects and in 2015 received his first solo exhibition at the Hollingsworth Art Gallery in Laurel, MD. Focusing on public art, Bergen was selected as part of the Washington, DC Alphabet Animal Project where one of his pieces can be seen at First and F Streets SE, Washington, DC. He was a finalist for The Chuck Brown Artwork Project, a major public sculpture commission in Washington, DC, and also received a Brookland Beautification Grant from the DC Office of Planning. Bergen was just recently given the Perimeter Fence Public Art Commission at the River Terrace Education Campus in Washington, DC, as well as the Chinatown Barnes Dance Project, an 100’ x 100’ artwork decorating the intersection of 7th and H St NW that celebrates the culture of Washington, DC’s Chinatown. Both projects are projected to be complete in 2015.

His website is http://www.charlesbergenstudios.com/.

Artist Statement

I have a lifelong interest in living beings, specifically in their natural habitats and environments. It is the beauty, power, and athleticism of living creatures—both human and wildlife—that draw me to sculpt their forms and figures. I try to understand how they move, where the curves are, and what gestures they make, to emulate their energy and essence in an evocative way. This is the approach to my work. Sculpture has always been a part of my life. Since I was a child, I have enjoyed working with my hands. I want people to touch my artwork, run their hands along the larger artwork, pick up the smaller artwork, hold the work close, creating a physical and/or emotional bond with the piece. My hope is that through this connection between the work and the viewer, they will be moved to take steps—be they small or large—to protect these natural beings and the environments in which they live.