Joseph Bernard

Posting #4

Posted on February 10, 2015

A group of paired (but otherwise unrelated) drawings from several of my sketchbooks in the 1970’s have been added to the ‘Mixed Images’ category.




These diary-like, 11” x 14” mixed media images, presented somewhat randomly, in non-chronological order are evidence of both a compulsive need to record interior & exterior stimuli and the personal credo that ‘drawing is the making of marks’. 

When marks are set down in imitation of something else, or when one unthinkingly drags muddy boots across a floor or even breathes hoarfrost patterns onto a winter window pane, drawings have been made. The signing of a check, the track of a surgeon’s scalpel, the vapor trail of an overhead jet, the pattern of prints through snow are all examples of (perhaps unconscious) mark making that should broadly be regarded as drawing.

Obviously, arranging cut pieces of paper (or any material) onto another surface of paper (or on any surface), is collage or assemblage — but in fact it’s still a variant of drawing. The origin of “photo+graphy” is to write with light. So then, the making of marks, with anything on anything, intentionally or unintentionally, provides an encompassing definition of drawing.


Posting #3

Posted on December 21, 2014

Posting #3 brings more additions to the earliest set of 'Paintings', related studio history and a new ‘Mixed Images' category of eclectic items.




As additional mid-to-late 80’s images were being put on the site, I thought back to the different locations this work originated in (the various studios); as well as what was being read, what music was listened to, related work involvements. How the paintings were constructed on floors & tables - -  shapes, sizes, colors, materials, even who the student studio assistants may have been (they changed each semester) and where specific pieces were done. 

Up until a given point, I had always worked where I lived. Beyond a pantry or bedroom darkroom, the collage painting, as activity, found separation in an attic or basement, a spare bedroom or in a functioning garage, dining or living room. An away-from-home studio, (real luxury), came late in life. A 300 sq. ft. below ground, storage room in an office complex was my first and was quite perfect, until the rent was raised prohibitively. The real deal came next. 

For two years, beginning April 1989, I rented a large, ground floor studio in a raw, brick commercial building at 11627 Klinger Street, Hamtramck, MI. The building, constructed as a brewery in the 1920’s, was converted to a steel shop during the second world war. That business eventually closed and the property was bought by a young man with a degree in philosophy who began to rent spaces to painters and rock musicians. 

My bigger studio allowed several paintings to be worked on simultaneously, in addition to crate-building and documentation photography. When told the landlord intended to sell, I bought the 6000 sq. ft. building on land contract in 1991 and made serious renovations throughout. For two decades, I maintained the building & grounds, rented studios to artists and did my own painting while employed as a full-time professor at the College for Creative Studies. Following divorce, the studio became my home and sanctuary. It also functioned as a gallery-like setting for many art tours and discussion groups. The piece of life I spent there truly came to represent a prodigious amount of work under the roles of painter, photographer, teacher, mentor and custodian of a property.

After those many years and following retirement, I found myself wanting to take leave of land-lording responsibilities and relocate all my accumulated work from Hamtramck to the home we found in Troy. MariaLuisa designed storage areas and engineered shelving racks to safely contain all of our paintings. Just prior to that, in September 2012, I found the ideal owner for the building - - it was bought by another young man degreed in philosophy, an artist who also wanted to rent studios to other artists. Serendipitously, full circle! 

The new ‘Mixed’ category on the site has the beginnings of very early photos (my high school motorcycle, a BSA 650), selected drawings, installation views and various oddities (see above ‘very early photos’). 

My current activities are pretty far removed from conventional art making, but they’re as deliberate. Those sensitivities honed are now applied elsewhere.