Marie: Trying Times (Marie Bergstedt)

By Jim Arendt

Denim, Appliquié and Machine Embroidery.

 138 x 115 cm

Why Marie Bergstedt?

My friend, Marie Bergstedt, is an artist I admire and a person whose company I enjoy. We’ve shared our stories of persistence in difficult times, which is the art I’m most interested in, and I continue to be inspired by the ways in which we make do for ourselves. Whether it was a trip to the scrapyard or the back of the pantry, there was usually a way to work around material deficits in the places Marie and I come from. I want to acknowledge those shared memories and skills that we do out of a need for function, beauty, or survival to honour her, mixing memory and materials to create something of value from nothing. Although separated by distance and time, Marie re-emerges in my studio to remind me of our shared struggles and resilience during the pandemic. 

About the Artist: Jim Arendt

When Jim was young, he remembered his father sitting at the sewing machine patching his Wranglers in the evening after work. The farm crisis had reached their place near Flint, MI and he was making do: A concept of thrift and pragmatism that dictates your work with the materials at hand. That memory mixed with the stories of other working people, led Jim to denim as a material. It is a universal fabric born in the dust of the cotton field, made supple by the sweat of garment workers, and embedded with the fading of second shift evenings. Its qualities amplified Jim’s ideas about materials and class, providing stronger coupling between content and form.