At first glance, these artworks defy a clear medium and process. They appear to be embroidered or woven, made of mosaic, painted, or sewn. The colors are rich and the forms are attractive. They are “beautiful”. The viewer is inclined to step very close to examine the surface. The subject matter then becomes viscerally apparent. A paragraph of text accompanies each piece, which retells the horrific act of violence and terror that the artwork memorializes. Each piece is an example of how people will behave under set conditions. Many of these particular pieces refer to lesser-known Holocaust crimes. Much of the string that is used is vintage and originated in Europe. Each piece is composed of thousands of tiny cut pieces of string that has been pressed into a bed of wax. Each work takes between 4 and 6 months to create.
Bernstein’s work presents us all with the opportunity to address the past, acknowledge what we are capable of as humans and forge a future where we move forward aware and conscious of the possibilities so we can work together to prevent these horrors. In recent days this seems ever more imperative and vital to our opportunity to understand each other and live in safe community with our neighbors.
The process of pressing string into wax came to her as she prepared a group of schoolchildren for an international trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, learning about the Huichol Indians and their spiritual practices.
Robin’s current subject matter combined with her artistic technique is her way of shouting from the rooftops: those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it (human behavior being highly predictable).
Robin Bernstein: Beauty and Terror
Exhibition Dates: June 7 – July 20, 2019
Opening Reception: Friday, June 7, 2019 from 6pm – 9pm
770 West Grand Avenue
Oakland, CA 94612