Jill Bergman invites community to explore fairy-tale forest of linocuts, monotypes
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Local printmaker Jill Bergman’s newest creation is its own world of winter in the mountains, topped with a sparkling sprinkle of fairy-tale magic.
“Tales from the Forest” invites its viewers into a snowy world of animals living within trees, weather and each other’s company — subdued and quiet but bright and dancing with life. Across the exhibit’s dozen large pieces and three small ones — a combination of rolled ink linocuts and one-of-a-kind monotype prints — are live deer, bears and river otters, porcupines and butterflies, flurries of stars and music notes, flowers and mushrooms and a healthy variety of tree types.
But Bergman’s creatures aren’t confined to the spaces within her frames.
“I wanted to feel like there was snow falling and birds flying in the room,” Bergman said.
In the same printmaking techniques used in the exhibit’s framed pieces, she created a full murder of crows, each in its own stage of flight or rest, and strung them up throughout the gallery space. She carved snowflake stamps, each one unique, printed them on fabric and dangled them throughout the exhibit as well. The effect is that of a life-sized storybook in three dimensions — a fairy-tale dream set in reality.
“Tales from the Forest” is Bergman’s first major project since she completed the 70-foot-by-12-foot “Yampa is Wild mural,” which lives on the sides of the ambulance building on Yampa Street and depicts the entirety of the river from its headwaters in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area to its confluence with the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument. That project took her three years to complete.
Once the mural was done, Bergman took a month to “catch up on life” and contemplate her next artistic adventure.
“I wanted to do something that involved landscapes and wildlife but wasn’t just landscape and wildlife,” she said. “I wanted it to be kind of magical — slightly less rooted in reality and more in imagination.”
The exhibit isn’t based in fantasy but explores folk art, with “By the Light of the Moon” depicting two horses nuzzling as birds and porcupines offer them flowers, all anthropomorphized just a touch, highlighted in gold. Other pieces are more traditional wildlife portraits.
“I was trying to find that happy medium (between real world and fairy tale),” Bergman said.
What: “Tales from the Forest” opening
When: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7
Where: Pine Moon Fine Art, 117 Ninth St.
The self-taught artist found inspiration in the children’s books and illustrated fairy tales she reads with her daughter.
“These pieces aren’t book illustrations but still have some of that feeling,” Bergman said.
“Tales from the Forest” opens at Pine Moon Fine Art from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, during First Friday Artwalk and will be on display throughout the month of February.
For more information about Bergman’s work, visit jillbergman.com.
Julia Ben-Asher is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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It was a love story that brought Jason Erwin to Steamboat Springs from Nashville, Tennessee.