February 14, 2017 
Fort Worth, TX


Kendal Smith Lake
Manager of Communications
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth Presents
FOCUS: Katherine Bernhardt      
April 8-July 9, 2017    
The FOCUS series is organized by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth for the Director's Council, a group that supports acquisitions at the Museum. The series features three solo exhibitions annually, organized by Assistant Curator Alison Hearst. FOCUS exhibitions are open to the public and are included in general museum admission: $10 for adults; $4 for seniors (60+) and students with identification; free for children 12 and under; free for Modern members.
In Katherine Bernhardt's recent "pattern" paintings, various objects from everyday life repeat within a single composition. The combinations are often humorous, such as in the frankly titled Windex cigarettes basketball, 2016, where the three items repeat and float flatly atop a solid ground of cobalt blue. Emojis, Aquafresh toothpaste, cigarettes, Duracell batteries, and Sharpies are among the subjects Bernhardt paints using simplified, gestural forms. Drawn to these objects for their visual qualities more than for their thematic connections to one another, Bernhardt's compositions, or "patterns," are primarily driven by her interest in color and form.
Bernhardt combines opposing styles and methods within any given canvas. For example, her backgrounds are abstract, thin pools of acrylic paint, while her figurative foregrounds are executed with spray paint, forming sketchy, drippy silhouettes. By combining lush washes of color with spray-painted illustrations, her works have diverse passages that simultaneously resemble color field painting and graffiti.
West African, Moroccan, and Caribbean textiles are strong influences, as Bernhardt states: "My interest is in Dutch wax printing on African fabrics, so that's what I've been influenced by. They have all these funny combinations of things that wouldn't necessarily go together -- sunglasses and birds, or whatever it might be." Her paintings are also inspired by travel; in the large-scale Untitled, 2017, included in the exhibition, brightly hued pink and black toucans, bunches of yellow bananas, and neon pink papayas suggest a tropical scene and are subjects the artist introduced after visiting Puerto Rico. The birds and fruits are set against a swirling neon green, orange, and brown field and are surrounded by Doritos and cigarettes, another example of Bernhardt's intermingling of incongruent items in a manner similar to the textiles that inspire her.
Bernhardt's paintings also echo the hand-painted signs at bodegas and markets across the globe, which advertise everything from fresh produce to laundry detergent. Her works reflect on the images and goods we are surrounded by on a daily basis. The artist's FOCUS exhibition at the Modern will feature eleven new paintings and a series of works on paper, each relating to her exploration of pattern and shape, which is rooted in ordinary subject matter but invigorated by Bernhardt's cartoonish style and bold use of color. This is her first solo exhibition in Texas and her second museum exhibition to date.
Katherine Bernhardt was born in Saint Louis and currently lives in New York. She received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York and her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited widely across the globe, including recent solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum, Saint Louis; Carl Freedman Gallery, London; Venus over Manhattan, New York; CANADA, New York; Roberto Paradise, San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Gallery Loyal, Stockholm. Bernhardt has participated in many group shows at such venues as the Atlanta Contemporary; Kunstforeningen GL Strand, Copenhagen; Saatchi Gallery, London; Foundation Salomon, Annecy, France; Macro Future, Rome; and the Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp.
The Director's Council
The Director's Council was formed in 1985 and supports the Modern with an annual acquisition for the permanent collection. The Director's Council sponsors the FOCUS series, which presents three solo exhibitions organized each year. Each exhibition opens with an exclusive cocktail reception for the Council, giving the members an opportunity to meet the featured artist and discuss his or her work. One piece by each artist is chosen by the Museum director and curator to be part of the final selection voted on at the Council's Purchase Meeting each May. This format provides members with an in-depth understanding of the Modern's acquisitions process and offers a spirited and popular series of events. The annual dues, $600, include all the benefits of an Associate/Family-level membership and invitations to exclusive Director's Council events.
High-resolution images available upon request. Please send a message to
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
3200 Darnell Street
Fort Worth, Texas 76107
Telephone 817.738.9215
Toll-Free 1.866.824.5566
Fax 817.735.1161
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$10 for adults (13+)
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