- Tom- Tom
In the early 1980s I moved from New York to Los Angeles with the rather arrogant notion that I would bring art sophistication to a province. I laugh at my pretention today. I found my way into the company of a number of California artists who challenged me with their wisdom and talent. One of those artists, Ciel Bergman (formerly Cheryl Bowers) put me in awe of her facility with paint coupled with the astute wisdom of the philosophies she illuminated. She gave me reading lists and became my friend. I became a better artist for knowing her.
Ciel was a wise woman – a kind and nurturing soul – an Earth Mother. Ever loving, she created gorgeous healing messages about our psyches, our world, and our souls. In a time when the art world became increasingly engorged with careerism and money, she stayed steady as a poet of finer values. Major museums from the Metropolitan, Modern and Whitney in New York to SFMOMA, the Oakland Museum of Art, and the Orange County Museum in California have honored her work.
Yet. I say this with conviction – she was one of the finest artists of the age – and massively under appreciated. Especially now facing what we face with neo – fascist power unleashed in our land – we need to understand what she was telling us with so much love in her giant graceful heart. I can’t begin to do her justice here – but encourage anyone who loves art and believes, as she did, that art has the power to heal, to find out who this magnificent woman is. She died last month, January 15th 2017, but her work is forever. Links below will introduce you to her.
The painting you see here is titled Serene Healing Gate. When I admired it on a visit to her Santa Barbara studio over three decades ago, she gave it to me. I have loved living with this work every day of my life since. Ciel mixed gold dust into the cadmium red to create a luminous arch supported by the twig on the right. When I see this work, I am reminded to see through her eyes and go through that portal to meditate on the foreverness of love in the cosmos.