On view March 6 - April 20, 2014
Opening reception Sunday, March 9 (2 p.m. - 5 p.m.)

At first glance, the paintings on view within Amy Bernstein’s first solo exhibition at Nationale, Notes, stun through a frenzy of vivid squiggles, patterns, and globs. However, this superficial cacophony, amplified by each canvas’ stark, white background, is only a temporary distraction. Upon closer examination, her once-enigmatic “bundles” transform into contemporary hieroglyphics. Their particular combinations of form and color divulge to the individual viewer a myriad of unique emotions and associations. Through these subjective readings, Bernstein’s work delicately upends cultural assumptions- the color red may not only express power or danger, for example- in order to illuminate life’s immeasurable, and bewildering, possibilities. 

I struggle with elements of restraint and freedom, the traits required to be good in the world, to know when to speak and when to celebrate silence. I believe these minimal paintings to be compiled of small moments, to embody notes on existence. My fleshy, reactionary piles of vibrant color in a white space become frail and faulted characters, occasionally talking to one another, interdependent but existing as entities in their own right. As whole works, they vacillate between the histories of philosophy, art, and design, searching for the space in which they will take questions further. They hope for beauty, but are often simply attempts at depicting the unexamined.

Hailing from Atlanta, GA, Portland-based artist and writer Amy Bernstein received her BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2004. Her work has been exhibited at such local spaces as the Littman Gallery at Portland State University, Car Hole Gallery, and Worksound. She also received grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Council in 2012 and from Creative Capital and the Warhol Foundation in 2010. Despite living in such various locales as Austin, TX and Berlin, Germany, Bernstein feels most at home in the Pacific Northwest.

March 2014 previews by John Motley for The Oregonian
March 2014 second weekend picks on PORT
Interview with Eva Lake on Art Focus (Tuesday, March 11)

To request a price list for this exhibition, please email

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