Mary Bero (1949 - )

Birth date: 1949 Death date:  
Birth location: Two Rivers, Wisconsin Death location:  
Media: Mixed Media , Painting , Textile Web site:
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Mary Bero

Wisconsinite fiber artist Mary Bero (born 1949) weaves what she has called “tapestry paintings.” Her primary technique is to hand-stitch cotton or silk thread or floss to a cloth backing, simultaneously building up areas of color and texture that form striking images and patterns when seen together. She sometimes augments these methods with acrylics, cloth, or paper.

Bero’s subject matter may seem simple and direct—freely-rendered human faces and forms, animals and plants, as well as repeated shapes and patterns. Her artistic choices and their technical execution, however, reveal dimensions of subtlety and refinement that belie such impressions of thematic simplicity. More than one observer has found powerful evocations of the human psyche in her art. As the viewer moves closer to one of Bero’s works, the complexity and variety of her surfaces becomes increasingly evident. Perhaps the power of her art lies in the viewer’s journey between outer, apparent surfaces and inner, psychological life.

Artists in mixed media are common; less common is an artist who, like Bero, can create the effects associated with one medium by means of another. Tapestries, of course, look like paintings at a distance. Bero’s “tapestry paintings” have this quality, but also call to mind embroidery, collage, and art quilting. Whatever her methods, she is able to create unique impressions through her knowledge of how the human mind processes colors and textures.

Bero was born in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, and earned a BS degree from University of Wisconsin—Stout; she resides in Madison, Wisconsin. Her work has been shown in many solo and group exhibitions over a span of thirty-plus years, and is found in collections around the U.S. as well as in Germany and the United Kingdom. She is represented by the Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee.

Wisconsin Affiliations

Wisconsin Art Organizations

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