Katherine Bernhardt in conversation with Sarah Braman
A conversation between Katherine Bernhardt and Sarah Braman on the occasion of the exhibition "Product Recall: New Pattern Paintings" at Xavier Hufkens, Brussels (17 May—18 June 2016).
Known for her large-scale pattern paintings depicting constellations of everyday items that have been isolated from their original context, American artist Katherine Bernhardt has created a new ensemble of colourful and dynamic images that take inspiration from both Brussels and New York. Executed in acrylic and spray paint on canvas, in a spontaneous and fluid style, her latest work features objects typically associated with Belgian popular culture, such as Smurfs and chocolate, with those representative of America, such as Lisa Simpson and Nike trainers. Added to the mix are domestic objects like toilet rolls and Windex (an American cleaning product); toucans and tropical fruits (a reference to the artist’s frequent travels to Puerto Rico); iconic games from her teenage years during the early 1980s (Pac-Man and the Rubik’s cube); and food and drink (Nutella, cigarettes, wine). Because of the myriad objects in her work, it is sometimes interpreted as a wry comment on consumerism. Yet this is not a conscious concern of the artist, who is primarily motivated by a fascination with her everyday surroundings, and in giving it expression through colour and composition.