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Alumna Artist Displays Works in Campus Center


Since graduating from Smith in 1952, artist Constance Bergfors has carved a career that has taken her to far away locales and led her to practice in several genres. She began drawing while still at Smith as a zoology major, and afterward studied painting at the Corcoran School of Art and Design in Washington, D.C. Several years later, after having lived in Italy, then Guinea, West Africa, and Var, France, Bergfors began her study of sculpture, a form she has worked with since.

Bergfors’ art will be on display from Thursday, May 24, through Sunday, May 27, at the Nolen Gallery in the Campus Center. A reception will take place in the gallery on Saturday, May 26, from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

Particularly striking are Bergfors’ wood works – flowing, wavy sculptures formed by stripping the bark and outer layers from the original logs, then intricately sanding the resultant pieces to a fine, complementary collection of standing wooden statues. To arrive at the final artwork, Berfors uses an axe and a chainsaw, chisels and several sanding machines before hand-sanding and finishing the piece with multiple coats of preservative and oils.

“The process is a very physical task,” she says of her wood sculptures, “and a very tactile one. Touch is also part of the poetry. I’ve often thought that I could still make sculpture, even if I became blind. I could feel the movement and the spaces.”

Bergfors started a collection of African sculpture after her years in Guinea that foreshadowed her wood sculptures of today. She has also worked stone and other materials.

“I think about rhythm, space, light and movement,” she says of her approach to her art. “I want the work to appear to be ready to move. Each piece should have a special articulation that seeks to create a mood.”

Bergfors, who lives in Washington, D.C., has created commissioned works for the U.S. Government, Temple Sinai, and others. She belongs to the Washington Sculptors Group in Washington, D.C., and sits on the Board of Overseers at Corcoran College of Art and Design.

Bergfors’ works are found in many collections and have been exhibited extensively throughout the United States and in Europe.


5/23/07   By Eric Sean Weld
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