Phil Bergerson (2004-10-15)

Phil Bergerson
Practice: Photography
Date of Lecture: 2004-10-15


“I photograph fragments, shards, clues, signs – signs that can nudge viewers into reflection about the quirky nature and condition of their culture, society and/or even themselves. I photograph both literal and figurative signs that makers consciously and unconsciously leave behind.” – Phil Bergerson

For many years Phil Bergerson has been inspired by the strange and unusual elements found in the built landscape of North America. In his extensive travels throughout the United States and Ontario, Bergerson has photographed the cultural detritus of everyday life, creating images which capture the fading imprint of a cultural history that might otherwise go unnoticed and unrecorded. First finding expression in his Interior Displays grids of 1979-80, his work as an “archaeologist of popular culture” has reached a remarkable resolution in his latest body of work, Shards of America. Moving within the aesthetic terrain associated with Walker Evans and Lee Friedlander, Bergerson engages our desire for meaning through his cogent rendering and framing of fortuitous juxtapositions observed within the culturally complex American landscape. In addition to exhibitions at the Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (CMCP) in Ottawa, Bergerson’s Shards of America has recently been published by Quantuck Lane Press in New York.

Phil Bergerson was born in Toronto in 1947 and studied photography at Ryerson Polytechnic Institute. He later earned his BFA at York University where he majored in printmaking and painting. He founded the Kodak Lecture Series in 1976 and has been a professor of Photography and New Media at Ryerson’s School of Image Arts for over thirty years.ÙBergerson has shown his work in public and private galleries in Canada, the United States, France, England and Mexico. His photographs have been reproduced in such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and The Walrus,and are included in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada Bibliothéque Nationale of France, and the Shadai Gallery in Tokyo.

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