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Nancy Bernstein

Open Studios Hours May 13/14, 11am - 5pm

My work uses abstract expressionist embroidery to puncture the body of the painted canvas. I make holes. Sometimes they are visible; other times they are filled with complicated knots and stitches. Either way, the permeable nature of the canvas is obvious: the surface is whole but not unbroken.
My paintings start with heavy body acrylic to create a thick layer of color, texture, and shape. And then I stab my needle through it. I work embroidery thread through the holes, adding more color, pattern, and texture, but it doesn’t mend or darn or seam; nothing is repaired. Instead, it pierces the solid and disrupts the smooth. I add the missing to the present through the use of ruptures and paint constructions, and the textile materials that add to and occupy both.
As an artist with multiple sclerosis, my body makes holes deep in the thick folds of my brain. So although on some level these paintings might all be considered self-portraits of my own disease process, my goal with them is less to represent myself and more to blur the lines between the ideas of solid and broken, art and craft, abstract and figurative, present and absent.

Location and Contact Information

Studio or Exhibition Space
3094 East 10th Street, Oakland, CA, USA Studio 6C
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