Halsey McKay presents Timothy Bergstrom’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. The title of the show is drawn from the military acronym SNAFU: Situation Normal, All Fucked Up.
Coined by American Marines during WWII, SNAFU described the anxiety and uncertainty of wartime—everything is bad, as it is normally. Bergstrom finds particularly relevant meaning in the acronym today and its sentiment pervades his work.
In this new body of paintings, Bergstrom depicts figures brandishing gas masks, weapons and armour, anxious to confront an unseen threat. He is influenced by science fiction renderings of post-apocalyptic life, mid-century Warner Brothers PSA cartoons, Otto Dix’s WWI-era drawings and Philip Guston’s bumbling Klansman. The SNAFU images reflect the political climates of their ancestor’s times as much as the stylization. Bergstrom forgoes the blood and guts of battle and opts for an obscured figuration of aggression. Each painting plies the fantasy and absurdity of romanticized violence to question the how, and why, images of fear and suffering are made alluring.
Timothy Bergstrom received his MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and his BFA from The School of Visual Arts in New York. Solo exhibitions have been with Halsey McKay Gallery, NY, Devening Projects, Chicago and Roberto Paradise, Puerto Rico. He has participated in numerous group shows around the United States, most recently at Greenpoint Terminal Gallery in Brooklyn, The Hole in Manhattan, Green Gallery in Milwaukee, and Double Break in Los Angeles. Bergstrom lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.Courtesy of the artist and Halsey McKay Gallery