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Dan Bergman

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I see the world as formed by opposition and balance, both literally and metaphorically. In the physical world, gravity opposes centrifugal force to determine the orbits of the planets. The tension of bridge cables is balanced by compression of the stone towers supporting them. The pendulum's motion is a balance between gravity and inertia. The world of our perceptions is similarly beset with oppositions. A piece of opaque fabric seems a completely different kind of physical object from the fibers coming together to make it. A dead body in front of me can't be reconciled with my vivid memories of the person alive. My moral world too is confused by contradictory imperatives. My desire for peace is sabotaged by thirst for retribution.
My predilection to be happy is not consistent with my awareness of the suffering around me. These oppositions and balances are the mysteries that move me to make art.
I use sculpture, primarily in welded steel, to explore the dualities that grip my imagination. Forms are squeezed and others stretched to project bottled-up energy. The visual vocabulary is filled with oppositions: heavy and light, hard and soft, figure and ground, enclosed and open. I cut, weld and twist the metal into three-dimensional constructions that I think of as musical in their alternation of tension and resolution. The comparison to music extends to the way my sculpture engages viewers. A piece is dense with imagery and detail and requires time to read through. The eye is presented with rhythmic repetitions, dynamic contrasts, dissonant and harmonious relationships and other analogies to musical grammar. Walter Pater said that all the arts aspire to the condition of music. In pure music the form is the content. The effect on the listener of the architecture of melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamics and timbre is constitutes message. With these abstract elements, a composer can elicit from me a more profound emotional response than all my most urgent concerns of the moment. In visual art too the work that affects me the most is not that which addresses issues on my conscious mind.
My work is without any message that could be verbalized, but is always about the mysteries that I can't resolve in words.
New York, NY
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