Audrey Bergner - About the artist
Audrey Bergner was born in Australia in 1927, and has lived and worked in Tel Aviv for more than fifty years. She has illustrated books and has designed scenery and costumes for the "Habima" and the "Cameri" theatres. She has held many exhibitions in Israel and overseas. Her paintings have been acquired by the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Museum of Modern Art in Haifa, and by private collectors in Israel, Australia, Canada and the United States. A number of her paintings are exhibited permanently at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, both at the Mount Scopus and the Giv'at Ram Campuses.
In recent years Audrey Bergner has produced the series "Birds", some of which were exhibited in Melbourne, Australia, in March-April 2004. The present exhibition at the Bernard Gallery is composed of this body of work, exhibited for the first time in Israel.
The series consists of paintings in aquarelle and oil on canvas, in strong colours and sharp lines which create the likeness of birds. These forms came into being from the painter's need to respond to the things which are happening around her, and to the social-political situation in the country. She gives expression to her reactions through immediate impact with the medium, with the paints with which she works, so that the forms come into being without previous planning.
Most of the works create a feeling of uneasiness, or discomfort. There is an atmosphere of struggle, tension, fear and temptation - a desperate attempt to escape upwards or to land on solid ground.
The centre of weight is usually in the upper part of the painting, and rests on a basis as thin as birds' legs. This gives a feeling of lack of balance, of unstable support - a feeling of heavy weight and the tense holding of breathe in the lungs.
Sharp triangles become beaks and wings and create movement in different directions. Between the strong angles small rounded lines appear, which may be birds' heads, and which create rare islands of softness. Their fragile existence between the sharp cutting lines and the feeling of violence around them is touching.
The background is divided into two or three parts, square or three cornered, in strong colors of red, yellow and black – colors which are, in nature, warning colors. The blue areas are mixed with black and become stormy skies. Only in one painting, where the angle of view is from below, the skies open and let the air in. But the yellow sky is far off and is surrounded by a three- quarter circle full of disorder and wildness. It seems that the birds which form the circle have become part of that dark threatening mass.