Written by Daniel Mariotti
“THE MORE IMAGES OF WOMEN THERE ARE TO LOOK UP TO, THE MORE INSPIRED YOUNG WOMEN WILL BE TO AIM HIGHER AND BE AMBITIOUS” -Meredith Bergmann
The first project we worked on with Meredith was for the Boston Women’s Memorial. A beautiful dedication of three influential women; Abigail Adams, Lucy Stone, and Phillis Wheatley. The most intriguing part about this memorial is the invitation it has for the public to interact with them. Meredith wanted to show each woman using their pedestals instead of standing on them like most traditional monuments you see. It shows and represents the hard work and dedication these three women put in to shape Boston’s future.
About Abigail Adams:
Born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, she was the wife of the second president of the United States. Self-educated, she was a key advisor to the president and was crucial to decisions for the inclusion of women’s rights, female education and the abolition of slavery.
“And, by the way, in the New Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors …” -Letter from Abigail to John Adams
About Lucy Stone:
Born in Brookfield, Massachusetts, she was the first women in Massachusetts to graduate college. She’s known as an abolitionist and respected orator who started the Woman’s Journal; the most important women’s suffrage publication of its era.
“Let woman’s sphere be bounded only by her capacity.” –Speech, Woman’s rights convention, Worcester 1851
About Phillis Wheatley:
Phillis was born in West Africa and sold as a slave from the ship “Phillis” in colonial Boston. She became a literary prodigy and was the first African American and second woman to publish a book of poems titled “Poems on Various subjects, Religious and Moral”.
“Some view our sable race with scornful eye, “their colour is a dibabolic die. “ Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain, May be refin’d, and join th’ angelic train.” -On Being Brought from Africa to America. lines 5-8, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral
View this video of the Boston Women’s Memorial for more information about it:
Meredith’s work often portrays recurrent themes of social justice and historical redress. She went to high school in 1968; a time when she was very aware of social hierarchy, social injustice, protests, and activism. And as she became more aware of history, her artistic fascination shifted to how attitudes change and fade. She started to ask questions like: Who has been forgotten? Who was never paid attention to? When is the right time to turn a fresh eye on them? She wants her work to embody the actual person as well as what they have come to represent. Functioning as both portrait and allegory. She wants people to feel the presence of history in their own lives and thoughts.
Meredith next to her sculpture and Installation, 2003
In Meredith’s future is a Central Park statue, depicting Elizabeth C Stanton and Susan B Anthony, which will be the park’s FIRST historical female monument. It’s intended to be up on August 26, 2020, coinciding with the centennial of the ratification for the 19th amendment granting women the power to vote. There is a campaign called “Monumental Women” which is part of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue fund, Inc. The Girl Scouts of Greater New York Life were early supporters of the movement.
The Girl Scouts of Greater New York’s involvement began when members of Troop 3484 learned about the lack of real women represented in the park and pledged a donation of $1,920 — symbolic of the ratification of the 19th “Votes For Women” Amendment — from their cookie earnings to The Statue Fund. The troop also rallied in the park to raise awareness of the need for female statues and advocate for the project. As word spread about the initiative throughout the Girl Scouts, more troops joined the effort. Girl Scout Troop 3482 donated $2,000 to the movement, and Troop 3746 helped to announce the finalists of Woman Suffrage Movement Monument Design Competition and presented The Statue Fund with a $5,000 donation.
For more information about this movement or to make a donation follow this link to view their website: https://monumentalwomen.org/
Among all of these projects Meredith also finds time to write poetry. She says her parents were adamant that she would go to a liberal arts college rather than art school to expand her view of the world. She discovered the rich symbolic content of European art history. Her then interest in sculpture took over and later so did her career. But after spending so much time with the creation of the Boston Women’s Memorial and learning about Phillis Wheatley, she decided to take some poetry classes which then lead her to be the editor of a poetry magazine (American Arts Quarterly 2006-2017) and later publish a chapbook of her work, called “A Special Education”, through Exot Books.
The Crouching Venus
Roman copy after an original of the 3rd century BC
Marble, height 96cm
The history of art is full of pain:
Sometimes within the work sometimes inflicted
On the body of the work itself
By acts of god or vandals, acid rain,
Or fashion (later versions have rejected
Seven of her belly’s folds and creases,
Smoothed her girth, sucked out her attribute
As goddess of inevitable birth
And left her slim, alone.) Here, missing pieces
Are not missed: coy arms that convolute,
Her curly head, may sit upon a shelf.
But on her back, as if to budge the earth,
A tiny hand is still attached. I’m wild
With sudden grief. I have to find that child.
-From “A Special Education”, Meredith Bergmann
If you’re interested in the work we have done for Meredith Bergmann take a look at our Portfolio Page!
To stay up to date and view all of Meredith’s work please visit her website: http://meredithbergmann.com/