Alex Bernstein: Time, Creation and Transformation
If we were to examine a cross-section of an ancient iceberg, no doubt the layers and various densities and opacities of color would be beautiful, but they would also signify something greater than ourselves. Such is the case with Alex Gabriel Bernstein’s sculpture. The forms and the techniques he uses to create them, mirror processes in nature such as oxidation, erosion, growth and decay, inspiring in the viewer a profound contemplation of time, creation and transformation.
Unwittingly, fortuitously, Bernstein discovered a method of applying metal to glass, and began using it as a jagged, impenetrable crust for his glass castings. Though others have openly copied these techniques - resulting in a new verb, “bernstein-ing” - none will achieve the depth or emotions unique to Bernstein’s sculpture.
As the child of two established glass artists, William and Katherine Bernstein, Alex grew up in a creative environment with access to many of the artists of the American Studio Glass movement. The beautiful surroundings of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina where they lived, played almost as much a part in his inspired upbringing as did the breadth of teachers around him.
After studying psychology at the University of North Carolina in Asheville and working at a children’s psychiatric hospital, Bernstein made the decision to pursue his artistic endeavors full time. He received an MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Crafts and went on to teach at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Penland School of Crafts, and The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass. Twelve years ago, Bernstein was the Department Head of Glass at the Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, but made the decision to return to his hometown in 2007 to set up a studio and focus on creating his own work full-time. He is currently on the board of the Asheville Art Museum as well as the North Carolina Glass Center.
Bernstein has recently mounted solo shows at George Billis Gallery, New York City; Hooks Epstein Gallery in Houston; Habatat Gallery in Royal Oak, MI; and the William Traver Gallery, Seattle. His work is included in numerous collections, including those of the Corning Museum of Glass, the Glasmuseum Frauenau in Germany, the Mellon Financial Corporation, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Palm Springs Art Museum.
Upcoming Bernstein exhibitions and events include Habatat Prime Chicago, a pop-up gallery located three miles from Navy Pier and open during Sofa Chicago. The 7500-square-foot space offers an incredible collection of the finest in contemporary glass, including Bernstein’s newest work. Winterowd Fine Art, a contemporary art gallery located on historic Canyon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is gearing up for Bernstein’s solo exhibition in 2020. In January 2020, Bernstein’s work will be exhibited at a collectors weekend held at Lahaina Gallery in Maui, Hawaii.