NATURE ENVISIONED and the REAL TRANSFORMED
– Karlyn Atkinson Berg, Collage Artist
Exhibit: August 7 to October 31, 2020
Karlyn Atkinson Berg worked as a painter and collage artist while working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her work has been shown in galleries across the county and has appeared in several collage books.
This series is comprised of hand-cut paper collages with gold leaf and acrylic on clayboard.
The collage medium has an inherent ability to transform image fragments into ideas that shape a new portrayal of nature and human ideas. This collage series was inspired by the literary genre of magical realism. The project goal was to explore the spirit of nature visually and evoke the emotions and mystery humans find there and present another way of seeing nature.
Some of these paintings are based on lyrics from songs from contemporary music. These works are not meant to illustrate the songs, but were inspired by images within the songs that possessed an affinity with nature or animals.
After graduating from Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA degree in painting
I continued graduate studies at Pratt University studying printmaking. I also pursued my career as a painter while working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In 1973, I traveled to Minnesota on what I thought would be a temporary enterprise; to work for the conservation of the Timber Wolf. Over time, I created and designed many wildlife projects and education materials. However, I continued to paint. In 2008 I returned to fully pursuing a painting career. I have begun promoting and exhibiting successfully, but would describe myself as an emerging artist.
At one time, I served as a consultant and designer for the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) to help create the acclaimed “Wolves and Humans” Exhibit.
My work for the “wolf” might seem unrelated from my current goals as an artist, but it has contributed in great part to the scope of the project, Nature Envisioned and the Real Transformed.
In order to effectively chronicle the historic relationship between humans, wolves, and wilderness, I explored historic literature and applied my own knowledge of art history to develop the text and images used in the exhibit. Both literature and art have long expressed our complicated and often ambivalent relationship with the natural world.
Since then, I’ve continued to investigate our ever-evolving attitudes, fears, and visions of the wilderness. I continued to discover wilderness images found within the magical realism genre. The images and sensibilities described in those books inspired me to visualize paintings that could also communicate what feelings provoke the human imagination. I was drawn to the language of those images; mysterious floating fragments, often surreal. I found them to be like the fragments used to compose a collage painting.
I received a second Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board in 2020 to create a large project made of 16 panels to enlarge the Nature Envisioned and the Real Transformed theme as a continue landscape.
These paintings were created under two grants. Karlyn Atkinson Berg was a recipient of an
Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and a grant from the
Arrowhead Regional Arts Council. These grants were made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota, thanks to appropriations from the Minnesota State legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and The McKnight Foundation.