February 17, 2012
Guest artist: Guillermo Bert
Known for turning urban archeology into art, Guillermo Bert creates collage, mixed-media, and public art, along with collaborative works such as painting and prints based on Diavolo Dance Theatre’s artists and performances. He also creates smaller works, using black gesso and mixed media on museum board or wood and paper, sometimes incorporating iconic classical paintings or architectural landmarks.
His public artworks include a recycled scrap “butterfly’ sculpture at the North Hollywood Metro Station, and a sandblasted glass mural in the NoHo arts district. His mural at the Valley Jewish Community Center celebrated the flow of Jewish culture from one generation to the next, using figures to form the tree of life and a menorah as the tree’s underlying structure.
In his Fossil series, the artist assembled altered sketchbooks or street posters into a ground over which he created mixed-media images. His LA Site series took poster fragments as both ground and part of figurative images. Those works “attempt to uncover an construct an archeology of the urban landscape” using fragments of information from found posters juxtaposed with images of contemporary life and fragments of the past. “This layering of images and symbols creates a kind of artifact and record of urban culture and history that one might find in an archeological excavation of one’s own city, ‘a form of twenty-first-century cave art,’” he says.
One of Bert's recent projects, the BAR-CODE/Branding America series, takes as its central theme the ubiquitous bar code symbol found on most retail products. The works reflect Bert's perspective on the current U.S. political climate and the consumerism he feels is at the core of American society.
Born in Santiago, Chile, Bert emigrated to the U.S. in the late 1980s. He holds an advanced bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Catholic University of Santiago and also studied at Otis Parsons School of Design. He has been the recipient of arts grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, and the city of Los Angeles, and received a Young Talent Award from Chile's National Museum of Arts. He also taught mixed media at Art Center College of Design for several years, and was an art director at the Los Angeles Times.
Bert’s work is in the collections of museums in the U.S. and South America. He is represented by Gallery 415, San Francisco; Peter Blake Gallery, Laguna Beach; and has seen his work placed on the sets of major television shows by Kevin Barry Fine Art Associates, Los Angeles. His website is at www.gbert.com.