Since graduating from the California College of the Arts with a BFA in Painting and Drawing in 2013, Andrea Bergen has been developing her singular collage technique. Rather than collaging disparate images together, she creates one unified image from hundreds of pieces of hand cut paper. The resulting works are like paintings but each brushstroke is piece of colored pastel paper. From a distance the medium is not immediately apparent and the collages can even appear to be digital drawings but upon closer inspection the uniqueness of the layered paper is apparent. While the material itself is flat with little texture, the surface of the collage takes on a sculptural element once enough paper has been layered. This technique is versatile and can be used to describe the organic and inorganic forms of the animal centered subject matter. The bright, saturated colors and bold graphics give the pictures a playful vivacity that belies the darker subject matter focused on the perilous future of the planet.
Bergen’s current work expresses her anxiety about the impact of climate change and humanity’s footprint on the environment and wildlife. Through literal and metaphoric representations, the collages pose a vision of the future in which animals are the protagonists in a post apocalyptic world. Recognizable consumer products and architecture stand in for humans while animal create chaos and enjoy their new freedom after man’s self-destruction. Despite a bleak outlook for the fate of humanity, the collages pose a hopeful view that even with the pollution and altered climate, nature will regain equilibrium and wildlife will adapt to thrive.