Kevin Bernstein

Associate Professor & Area Coordinator Painting


Office: Willard 119

M.F.A - University of Washington (Painting and Drawing) – 2005
B.F.A. – Rhode Island School of Design – 1999


KEVIN BERNSTEIN’S paintings and works on paper look towards the macro and micro worlds and explore the interconnectedness of man, nature, and science.

He received his MFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Washington, Seattle and his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. He has exhibited his work throughout the United States and the United Kingdom.

Recent exhibitions include a solo exhibition entitled New Works: Kevin Bernstein at The Kansas City Artists Coalition (KCAC) Charno Gallery in KCMO; “2012 MIAMI UNIVERSITY YOUNG PAINTERS COMPETITION, FOR THE WILLIAM AND DOROTHY YECK $10,000 AWARD EXHIBITION,” Hiestand Galleries (IRENE HOFMANN, Phillips Director & Chief Curator, SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico); “TARFEST 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ART EXHIBITION, 2003-2012,” LAUNCH LA Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, (Curated by Holly Harrison, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); “56TH CHAUTAUQUA ANNUAL EXHIBITION OF CONTEMPORARY ART,” Strohl Art Center Main Gallery, Chautauqua Institution, (JANNE SIREN, Director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery).

He has been selected for exhibitions in LA and NYC by curators such as: HOWARD N. FOX, Curator Emeritus of Contemporary Art, LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART (LACMA); SAMANTHA RIPPNER, Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints at the METROPOLITAN MUSEUM, NYC); DOUGLAS FOGLE, Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Public Programs/Chief Curator, HAMMER MUSEUM, UCLA LOS ANGELES; ALMA RUIZ, Senior Curator of MOCA – THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART LOS ANGELES; and JOHN YAU, Art critic, and independent curator.

He was selected for the Ellie Wilder Award by JIM KEMPNER at the “54th Chautauqua Annual” and recently completed a Centrum Artist Residency as a recipient of Russell Jaqua Award for Artistic Excellence and received an Artist Residency at Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts for spring 2014.

He is currently Associate Professor of Art and Area Coordinator of 2D Foundations and serves as Graduate Painting Faculty in the Department of Art at Kansas State University.

Artist Statement:

Slowing down to discover how the familiar is unfamiliar in nature has enhanced my vision as a painter. The ephemeral and elemental experiences in nature are a spiritual guide to help explore painting as a journey of discovery as well as invention. The elements of nature, in flux and change, decay and growth, become a metaphor for the process of painting. I am drawn to these elements as they transcend time and place.

Through the lens of the natural—the bombardment of technological advances and scientific imagery in daily life has affected my understanding of self and place in the natural world. What we know and question through science changes my relationship to the natural world and expands my visual lexicon and perceptions of geologic time, the biological, and the organic. Understanding the natural process—the phenomenon, the science—conjures the imagination. I am attempting to create something that invokes an experience that is as powerful and felt to me as that which I may happen upon in nature.

In my work, I respond to the process of painting as it cues the sensation of the natural. Often unnatural or manmade processes or materials synthesize the natural. As my work becomes more process-oriented through the puddling, pooling, staining, repelling, and spreading of paint or its layering, building, or accumulation—a morphology of the natural world occurs, blurring the line between the natural and unnatural.

Looking toward the macro and micro worlds one sees organizing principles, processes, and patterns that mirror or question the human/nature relationship. I am interested in how nature’s role in society has changed throughout history. Through my work I hope to better understand nature as a primal source in a complex and ever-changing world in need of preservation and restraint.