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June 2011

Caldwell Arts Council in Lenoir, NC, Features Works by John Higdon & Alex Gabriel Bernstein

The Caldwell Arts Council in Lenoir, NC, will present the exhibit, ICE, featuring photographs by John Higdon and works in glass by Alex Gabriel Bernstein, on view from June 3 - 30, 2011. A reception will be held on June 3, from 5-7:30pm.

John Higdon of Pensacola, FL, will present his series of Antarctic photography, taken during his 10 year tenure navigating the Continent of Antarctica for the National Science Foundation. These photographs provide a glimpse of the natural beauty and the harsh climate that meet all who venture there.

Struck with the vastness and remote nature of the continent in his travels, Higdon tried to capture its essence as well as convey a sense of solitude. Over his decade in the ice he never tired of the resourcefulness of its native creatures to endure the climate as well as the ever changing landscape of ice and rock. Having no vegetation to hold the soil and rock in place, Antarctica is subject to its ever ending snow and wind to shape its coastline.

Massive areas of ice break off its coast to form icebergs that either float north to augment the oceans of the world or gather in bays or ground near shore to add navigational hazards for those who ply its waters and chart its boundaries.

Animals that can mate, give birth, and raise their young in sub zero temps all look right at home and even look as though they enjoy the inhospitability of their homeland. Not at all fearful of humans they will gladly pose and perform in front of the lens. Playing and going about the business of living in Antarctica all the while seeming to know who is more out of place in this hostile environment….the Human.

Alex Gabriel Bernstein grew up in a creative environment with access to many of the artists of the American studio glass movement. As the child of two established glass artists, William and Katherine Bernstein (Billy is one of the founding members of the Glass Art Society), the beautiful surroundings of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western North Carolina where they lived played almost as much of a part in his inspired upbringing as did the breadth of teachers around him.

Bernstein studied psychology at the University of North Carolina in Asheville and worked at a children’s psychiatric hospital before making the decision to pursue his artistic endeavors full time. He received a Master of Fine Arts 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.

Most recently Bernstein was the Department Head of Glass at the Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, but he made the decision to return to his Asheville hometown in 2007 to set up a studio and focus on creating his own work full-time.

Bernstein has recently mounted solo shows at Chappell Gallery in NYC; Hooks Epstein Gallery in Houston, TX; Habatat Gallery in Royal Oak, MI; and the William Traver Gallery, Seattle, WA. 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, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Palm Springs Art Museum.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Council at 828/754-2486 or visit (

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