Richard Bertman, Fish, 2004

Richard Bertman: Three Point Perspective

Curated by Veronique Le Melle, Nate McDermott and Jacqueline Fernandez

About Richard Bertman: Three Point Perspective:

Richard J. Bertman is a local artist and a founding Principal of CBT Architects whose work graces the skyline and streetscapes of Boston with such landmarks as 111 Huntington Avenue, Trinity Place, and 200 Newbury Street. Three Point Perspective examines Bertman’s lifelong exploration of artistic practice by focusing on three distinct conversations the artist has had in his studio over decades of creativity: meticulous pen and ink renderings of buildings and landscapes; expressive wire sculptures of faces, and humorously complex kinetic sculptures.

Bertman’s multiple use of materials and prolific body of work inspired the unusual decision to have three different curators guide the artist’s exhibition. Veronique Le Melle, Nate McDermott and Jacqueline Fernandez serve as curators for the exhibit, and each one gravitated to different points of Bertman’s creative spectrum: Fernandez was instantly drawn to the pen and ink pieces, Le Melle found inspiration in the wire sculptures and McDermott was pulled to the kinetic sculptures.

Bertman’s pen and ink drawings are inviting and accessible; the black lines and curves infuse life and whimsy into stone, brick, archways, bridges, and piazzas. Bertman shares his perspective in such a way that even those unfamiliar with his work will sense they are situated in the hotel or cafe window, the quiet pew at the back of a church, the corner of a bustling city street or in the old town square where he sat with his pad of paper and pen set.

Bertman’s steel wire sculptures of faces are rich with personality and offer a blend of form and function. In these works, the artist presents himself with the challenge of constructing a light and airy sketch in three dimensions. The juxtaposition of a strong and static material like steel, to the lightness and sensitivity of touch that a viewer can gather from his pen and ink drawings, is no minor feat. The forms of each sculpture shift as the viewer examines it from different angles, a dynamism that became precursor to his kinetic sculptures.

Relying on electrically powered motors triggered by footswitches and drawing inspiration for their structural components from DaVinci’s renderings of flying machines, Bertman’s kinetic sculptures seem to fall within two categories: conceptual and representative. Both utilize humor through form, making reference to objects, humans, and animals. The more abstracted sculptures deal with concepts such as flight, space, and movement, and with all the parts clearly visible, the artist allows the viewer to digest what is needed to make each action take place.

“Many of my pieces employ motors and moving parts. The movement adds richness and interest to the sculpture by creating change and unexpected relationships,” said Bertman. “This idea of change permeates much of my work. I love to draw and in my wire sculptures, which are like three-dimensional drawings in space, change occurs as one moves around the piece and perceives the wire lines of the sculpture changing their relationships. The result is a kind of three-dimensional cubism as one image morphs into another.”

Related experiences:

Opening Reception
Friday, July 23 | 6–8pm

Artist Talk
Wednesday, August 25 at 6pm

Families Connect
Saturday, August 7 | 1–2:30pm (repeats from 3-4:30pm)
In this participatory workshop, parents and children ages five and older will explore the drawings, wire sculptures, and kinetic sculptures of Richard Bertman. Following Bertman’s playful lead, families will create art inspired by both his three-dimensional wire creations and his kinetic sculptures. Workshops are free, but space is limited. To pre-register, contact Cynthia Woo at or 617.426.1119.