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, 13 years ago, she returned to her life goal of full-time art practice. Conceptually she has revived the mining of her personal encounters more-broadly related to current events and cultural concerns, 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.
Bergstedt’s art has appeared in more than 100 exhibitions, receiving 23 awards. She has been invited to present lectures and workshops at eight organizations, among them the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, California College of Arts, Surface Design Association, and Coastal Carolina University. More than 40 publications include her work, among them the Netherlands’ Textile Art Around the World, “On View Portraiture” section of Fiber Art Now magazine, and a Through Our Hands Magazine interview with Linda Seward, United Kingdom. In 2017 she was invited for publication in Artistry in Fiber: Sculpture by E. Ashley Rooney and Anne Lee, Schiffer Publishing, and Ceci N’est Pas Un Pull by Charlotte Vannier, SAS PYRAMID EDITIONS (Paris, France), and two Chinese publications, World Affairs Pictorial Art and “The Exploration of New Era Fiber Art” by Hong Xinghu. 2018 her work was included in the 10th From Lausanne to Beijing International Biennale, from which she was selected as a “specially invited artist” for the first Chaozhou China International Embroidery Art Biennale. In 2019 she is exhibiting in the World Textile Art Bienal 2019 Madrid and in Birmingham, England as well as states across the USA. She has also been invited by the European Cultural Center to exhibit in an upcoming Venice Biennale.
Strongly imprinted by her Midwestern upbringing, Marie Bergstedt has maintained a base residence in San Francisco, California, for the past 40 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:/www.mariebergstedtartist.com and Facebook page at https:www.facebook.com/marie.bergstedt.79.