Phil Bergerson | Retrospective, In Search of Meaning

14 November 2020 - 17 April 2021

Exhibition Dates: November 14, 2020 – March 27, 2021

Phil Bergerson in attendance:

Saturday, November 14, 2020, 11am-6pm

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*The gallery is open by appointment from Tuesday to Saturday from 11am-5pm. To schedule a visit please use or call the gallery at 416.504.0575.


Stephen Bulger Gallery is pleased to present “Retrospective, In Search of Meaning”, our sixth solo exhibition of work by Phil Bergerson.


This exhibition coincides with the release of Bergerson’s third monograph, A Retrospective, published by Daylight Books. The publication is a survey of his career, which started in the early 1970s by exploring drawing, painting, and printmaking before embracing photography exclusively. Bergerson’s early work explored vernacular photography and snapshots, imbuing their surfaces with paint, text, and a number of techniques that fused various media into the expanded visual language that encompasses photography.


The son of a commercial sign painter, Bergerson’s first projects with straight photography combined numerous display photographs in a grid pattern that emphasized the ubiquity of consumer culture. Further, he used the grid formation in architectural photography to explore space and vantage point. In another series, he pursued a typological study of isolated body parts.


For the past thirty years, Bergerson has travelled North America extensively, searching for remnants of a recent yet bygone era, capturing them in tightly composed photographs that harness his mastery of colour, light, and an engaging sense of humour. Although many photographers have pointed a chastising eye at the detritus that populate the urban landscape, Bergerson’s wonderment with what he frames permeates scenes of desolation, neglect, and a sense of human striving. 


Phil Bergerson has been photographing and exhibiting internationally for over thirty-five years. His work can be found in significant public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; and the Harry Ransom Center, Texas. He has been awarded several Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council grants, and his photographs have been published in The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine as well as in Toronto Life and The Walrus.


Bergerson taught photography at Ryerson University from 1975 until his retirement in 2005. There he received many awards including the Sahota Award for excellence in teaching and creative research. His influential organizational achievements include the establishment of the annual international “Kodak

Lecture Series”, a National Conference on Photography in Canada, (“Canadian Perspectives”), and the first International Symposium on Photographic Theory.