Bernstein's Open Studio: "Open House"

Barbara Bernstein describes the process of drawing as “The connection between intimacy, trust and unlimited discovery,” where “recognition and anticipation meet.”

Bernstein challenges and expands on the traditional principles of drawing: line, shape and perspective, to produce works that are wonderfully expressive and darkly amusing. In her most recent installation, "Open House,” she uses the unorthodox and unexpected material of masking tape, which she cuts and bends to produce “drawings,” transforming her studio into living space complete with kitchen, hearth and Home Sweet Home “rag” rug.

In 2010, Bernstein, who has been the resident artist with her husband, David Garratt, since 2007, produced “How Does Your Garden Grow,” a drawing installation at an abandoned gas station in Lynchburg, Virginia which she covered with a lacy filigree of plants. In the process, she not only transformed a blighted building into something quite lyrical, but she also engaged the surrounding community. “Anyone that passes by when I am working on the building greets me warmly. Young, old, infirmed, or carefree, some stop and talk. Some stop and watch. Many thank me: ‘I just wanted to come over and thank you for making the neighborhood beautiful. It looks like someone cares about us.’”

The project was run under the auspices of the Lynchburg Neighborhood development Foundation. The building currently houses “Word Works,” a reading and writing after school program for K-12 students. Bernstein says of the project: “These active, vibrant and sustaining solutions affirm my goals of community: art becomes, and is joined with, life.” “How Does Your Garden Grow” was featured on the cover of The Public Art Dialogue Journal, November 2011. The project is ongoing as some of the work had to be re-done due to building renovations and weather damage.


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