Schooled at The National School of the Arts and studied art direction at Vega School in Johannesburg, Bergh worked for a couple of years as a graphic designer and art director before enjoying having the rug pulled  from under her feet when she switched back to fine art. She relished this change as her free-fall independence.
 “Images start off as energy that gain shape through words.” Mariëtte Bergh is a quiet watcher, a voyeur of people in the mundanity of their everyday. Her works interrogate the strange fiction of the day-to-day through imaginary characters and animal metaphors. Hers is the realm of the seeming incompatibility of opposing thoughts: routine and change, conformity and rebellion, something and nothing, mundane and mystery, image and text. Reverse-glass painting is Bergh’s favourite medium but she mixes this up with other materials such as oil and wood. Trained as a painter and designer, Bergh is fascinated by the potential of less conventional application as a tool in her art-making. Music, poetry and writing are big inspirations for her observations of humanity. In that somewhere space between the picture and the word is the energy that shapes her production." – Salon 91
I've been fascinated with people since I can remember, and more recently also the interdependence between opposites. As a bit of a loner I enjoy observing quietly as if viewing a never-ending film. I interpret those observations rather than personal experiences.

I look between the cracks of unmeaning, and there I find something that takes on a life of its own. Pure undefined energy, like a cluster of anarchic yet harmonious subatomic particles that are all too busy with Shiva's dance of destruction and creation. It is, for some more than others, a natural instinct to keep moving and changing – subconsciously doing whatever it takes to pursue this blind search even though there is no end result to the journey. I guess that our obsession is anything 'new', and all things new are constantly replaced by other new things.
"Our rising bring no light; our sinking, no darkness. Endless the series of things without names." – Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu
The pace of life is overwhelming and the chance to experience a state of silence has become a luxury that demands determination and discipline, often all we have are the tiniest cracks in between. Consequently the sublime is intertwined within the mundanity of existence and it seems useless to try and separate the two and one means nothing without the other. It is such a wonderful paradox and my fascination with the relationship between these elements is illustrated through this Taoist aphorism:
'Umbrella, light, landscape, sky –
There is no language of the holy.

The sacred lies in the ordinary.'

Ordinary existence sway between dynamic movement and change, or, security within the confines of routine. We fear or embrace change as we either swarm about faceless within crowds; or scamper toward individual recognition, ironically, through means of homogeneous expression only to claim a social position within an existing identity.
To move toward change is a disparate concept and usually involves some form of isolation, but even though an individual believes he's the first, change is rarely pioneered by one at a given time. In different parts of the world, unaware of one another, similar individuals yearn for the same thing and so, unknowingly it becomes a collective pursuit. That is how we change and adapt in order to survive as a species. No matter how ordinary or unconventional we think we are, we form as one giant organism that continuously grows and moves in the same direction – different parts at different rates as every particle plays a different role.
The conflict between structure and routine and creative rebellion is merely the different facets of this wonderful organism.
That is the general premise for my work, human nature with its quirks, conflict and harmony that keeps us moving around like  magnetic fields: routine and change; conformity and rebellion; quiet and clamour; something and nothing; mundane and mystery; soma and spirit.
Yet I enjoy it when viewers make alternative connections with artworks as it becomes an active extension on the subject of the variables of humanity. It makes it all the more interesting and the piece serves as an interactive role with each interpretation. There's no denying that we each live in our own microcosmic realities, therefore it is inevitable that we contextualize accordingly.

Bare Your Bones - 2012
Room, Johannesburg
Swindle - 2010
Left, Johannesburg
(independently organized)
We Don’t Belong - 2010
Left, Johannesburg
(independently organized)
Gravity - 2014
Salon 91, Cape Town
Lovely Creatures - 2013
Culture Gallery, Cape Town
One In A Million - 2013
Salon 91, Cape Town
I’d Rather Be Swimming - 2012
Salon 91, Cape Town
Impression: Sunset - 2012
Salon 91, Cape Town
Art Of Happiness - 2012
Upstairs @ Bamboo Johannesburg
Life In A Picture - 2010
Rust en Vrede Gallery, Durbanville
Exposed - 2010
Hout Bay Gallery, Cape Town
Ansisters - 2005
Constitution Hill, Johannesburg
Back to Top