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May 2011

Artspace in Raleigh, NC, Offers Works by Barbara Bernstein, Susan Martin, Alia El-Bermani & Area Art Educators

Artspace in Raleigh, NC, will present several new exhibits including: Educators’ Juried Exhibition, juried by Ann Roth, on view in Gallery Two, from May 19 through June 4, 2011, a reception will be held on June 3, from 6-10pm; Patterns of Love and Beauty, featuring works by Barbara Bernstein, on view in Gallery One, from May 6 through June 25, 2011, a reception will be held on May 6, from 6-10pm; Befallen featuring works by Susan Martin, on view in the Lobby Gallery, from May 6 - 28, 2011. A reception will be held on May 6, from 6-10pm; and Southern Weeds, featuring works by Alia El-Bermani, will be on view in the Upfront Gallery, from May 6 - 28, 2011. A reception will be held on May 6, from 6-10pm.

The Educator’s Juried Exhibition was open to any current art instructor at a public or private school, university, or arts organization in Wake, Durham, or Orange counties.

Ann Roth is a gallery director and teaches color theory at Meredith College. She has held curatorial and administrative positions in universities, non-profit arts organizations and commercial galleries since 1976. In the Triangle area she has been a juror for the Town of Cary’s Lazy Daze Arts Festival, Artspace, Raleigh Arts Commission and student exhibitions at UNC-Greensboro and NCCU among other organizations.

Roth is also a weaver. Her hand dyed and woven wall textiles have been shown in the Fine Contemporary Craft National Juried Competition at Artspace in Raleigh, the Chapel Hill Town Hall, and the NC State Craft Center. Her work will be featured in a 3-person show at the Block Gallery in Raleigh in May this year. She received her MFA in textile design from the University of Kansas and her BFA from the University of Michigan.

The title of Barbara Bernstein’s installation, Patterns of Love and Beauty came from one of the last conversations the artist had with her father. “It’s all patterns,” he said. Then he continued, “…and the patterns are love and beauty. Never forget that, Barbara.” Nearing the seven-year anniversary of his death, Bernstein dedicates this exhibition to her father.

In Patterns of Love and Beauty, the window and entry walls of the gallery act as an invitation of what the viewer will experience in the installation: a furnished sitting room is realized in unexpected and unforeseen ways. Seamless line drawings of fantastical plants cover the surface of the walls, floor, and all of the objects in the room. Areas not readily visible, for example, under chairs and tables, are given equal attention with drawing, ensuring the saturation of the experience.

Bernstein’s black and white palette reinforces the impact of dichotomy and paradox. Also included in the exhibition are related drawings made from layered hand-cut and manufactured paper doilies, entitled, NAME, after the state of Virginia’s complex and layered history. They interface with the installation’s domestic environment and are symbolic of what Bernstein believes we aim to hold onto in our transitory lives.

Bernstein began drawing at a very early age and has never stopped. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, her MA and MFA from the University of New Mexico and was selected to attend the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She has exhibited her work throughout the US and internationally including at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; and the United Nations Conference on Women, Beijing, China. Bernstein has received numerous grants including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the HK Mellon Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Arts Council. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Visiting Artist and Scholars Program at the American Academy in Rome, the MacDowell Colony, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, where she and her husband have been the Resident Artists since 2007.

The pieces in Befallen by Susan Martin can be considered studies of time. The compositions are intentionally arranged to create measured tension between object and setting, highlighting an episode of quiet magnitude. The sequence of events which has transpired is never defined, allowing a past and future to remain unestablished, keeping the moment paused indefinitely.

Choosing watercolor as her medium was lead by Martin’s ongoing interest in how it translates to contemporary imagery. A deceptively demanding medium, it requires you to be deliberate with your marks and patient with your time. In her words: “At every step of building a piece I am engaged by the lengths at which I must look, and focus, before proceeding.”

Martin currently lives in North Carolina and maintains a studio in downtown Raleigh. Trained as a painter and printmaker, she graduated with a degree in Studio Art from the University of Redlands in Southern California. In addition to working with watercolors and drawing, Martin’s art practice also focuses on traditional printmaking techniques. Recently she has had work included in exhibits at the Greenhill Center for North Carolina Art and Artspace and has taught workshops on painting and printmaking.

As a recent transplant to the South, Alia E. El-Bermani has been struggling to find how she belongs here, especially as an artist. She grew up in New England, just south of Boston and then spent the last thirteen years in California before moving to NC. Her recent relocation has markedly skewed her sense of identity.

El-Bermani is now acutely aware of how foreign she is in this place where terms like Yankee still mingle freely in conversation and where even still, segregation is a reoccurring and prominent subject.

Southern Weeds is an exploration of El-Bermani’s new natural surroundings. Her new backyard is at once familiar and shockingly different than that of her childhood. As a continuation of previous bodies of work exploring ways of representing the mundane as extraordinary, the artist hopes to share the beauty that she finds in common, and often overlooked, southern weeds. Through research and painting of these specimens, she has learned some of the history of the area, discovering how these plants were used as medicine or ink or even in Anti-Slavery protests, thus helping El-Bermani find a deeper connection to her new setting.

El-Bermani notes, “It’s a connection safely explored through beauty and history, beyond any stigmas or political agendas. It is an artistic connection rooted to the natural history here that has helped me find my place.”

El-Bermani received her BFA from Laguna College of Art and Design in 2000, Laguna Beach, CA. She is currently represented by two premier galleries, Sullivan Goss Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA, and The Loft Galeria, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She is a member of the Artspace Artist Association and the Portrait Society of America. Her work has been included in six solo exhibitions and numerous group shows across the country including at the Palm Springs Desert Museum, CA; the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. AK; West Valley Art Museum, AZ; the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto; and most recently at the Greenville Museum of Art, NC.

Artspace, a thriving visual art center located in downtown Raleigh, brings the creative process to life through inspiring and engaging education and community outreach programming, a dynamic environment of over 30 professional artists studios, and nationally acclaimed exhibitions. Approximately 95 artists hold professional memberships in the Artspace Artists Association. Thirty-five of these artists have studios located at Artspace. Artspace is located in Historic City Market in Raleigh at the corner of Blount and Davie Streets.

Artspace is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, the Raleigh Arts Commission, individuals, corporations, and private foundations.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the center at 919/821-2787 or visit (

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