Werner Bargsten is a sculptor, film producer, and teacher who currently lives in Jersey City. In the 1970s he co-operated Brant Lake Pottery in the Adirondacks where he specialized in slab-built pottery. He has taught Design & Sculpture at the Booker Magnet School in Sarasota, Florida, and operated ICBA inc. in New York City, producing special effects for commercials and films.
Much of Bargsten’s ceramic work is inspired by childhood memories of the rich, black, Iowa dirt of his family’s farm. He feels that his unconscious is constantly replaying his life, happy memories and traumas alike, like an “endless video loop” inside his head. “When I make a piece, depending on where I am in the loop, I have a chance to ‘out’ that particular memory and give it physical form.” His pieces are not about specific events, but rather their emotional agency. Snapshots of inner life, his work invites viewers to recognize their own unconscious, human, stories. For that reason, he does not assign a title to any of his pieces since, once they take form, they belong to others.
Bargsten’s work has been displayed in countless solo and group exhibitions around the country, recently at the Back to Square One show at the Ward-Nasse Gallery and Open16 at FrontArt Space, both in New York City, as well as at X Contemporary/Miami Basel Art week. He has produced wall sculptures, wall hangings, and installations, recently focusing on a series of wall hangings, Packages.