Inspired, in part, by the surreptitious conflation of churches and cell phone towers, Bernhardt’s newest body of work, A Question of Faith investigates the relationship between painting, religion, and technology.
The paintings focus on machines, both historic and contemporary, and are derived from a variety of photographic sources. Found images are layered, and manipulated by painterly strategies both additive and subtractive, of gesture, line, pouring, spraying and scraping. The imagery is pushed to the ambiguous edge of abstraction, and deliberately re-contextualized in an engaging visual complexity that invites fresh, if uncomfortable, insight into contemporary culture.
Born in Ontario, Paul Bernhardt holds a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design and an MFA in painting from Purchase College, State University of New York. He has won a number of awards, most notably the Joseph Beuys Memorial Scholarship while at NSCAD and the Dean’s Scholar Award in both years he attended Purchase College. He has received grant funding at both provincial and national levels. His work has been exhibited in Canada and the United States. Highlights in his exhibition record include Real at the Art Gallery of Alberta, Place-Setting at Supreme Trading in Brooklyn, the 2005 RBC Painting Competition at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and a solo show at Dalhousie University as part of the Emerging Artist Series. Bernhardt lives and works in Edmonton, AB and teaches at the University of Alberta.