Bart Vargas is from Bellevue, Nebraska. He received his BFA from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and his MFA at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, and his work can be found in many collections throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. His works have also been featured in many publications including Sculpture magazine, New American Paintings, and HGTV Magazine.
Aspects of salvage, collection and repetition run through all my works. I recover local materials deemed unwanted or useless, including trash, recyclables and surplus items and then transform them into playful, approachable and thought-provoking objects. I want my creations to act as artifacts and evidence of the early 21st century, an era of limited resources and extraordinary consumption and waste.
This practice is most obvious in my sculptures, in which I use readily identified objects such as plastic bottles, cardboard, keyboard keys and empty paint containers. I play with the familiarity of these materials by blurring their identities into universal forms like spheres, globes, maps, pyramids, pills and skulls. These works address such diverse topics as contextual regional geography, the damaging effects of plastic on our bodies and global environment, and the multitudes of waste created by technological advancement. My sculptures evoke the taken for granted nature of everyday materials in society.
My paintings also incorporate the practice of salvage, though to a less apparent extent. I utilize latex house paints from a regional collection site for hazardous materials and paint on wooden panels built from repurposed scraps gathered from theatre sets, construction sites and members of the community.
I paint patterns represented universally throughout human history, including rays, concentric circles, stripes, grids and color fields. I am fascinated with color theory, both the emotion of colors and how they interact with each other. I strive for the image’s energy, movement, color and form to leave the surface, enter space, and engage the viewer. In essence, each painting is both a celebration of and an exploration into color theory, identity, language, and ancient abstract patterns.