Tag Archives: bernhardt

Justin Bernhardt

Justin Bernhardt has been creating art since he was a young child, growing up next door to artists on either side of his home in Kalamazoo Michigan. In his youth on a trip to the Washington D.C. National Gallery of Art, he was set in awe by the Hudson River School Painters, especially Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church. His work continues in that American landscape tradition, in its own fashion, along with other American artists such as George Inness, Charles Burchfield, Neil Welliver, and Wolf Khan. He is also influenced by Post-Impressionist and Abstract Expressionist artist’s color and freedom of brushwork.

In 1999, he earned a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago concentrating on figure and landscape painting. He also studied painting at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina where he was awarded the Lang Art Scholarship in 1997. After graduation, he traveled around the United States, painting the landscape from his van to later create larger paintings and exhibit the work from his trip. From 2001-2005 he owned The Lovell Street Gallery and from 2007-2008 he owned the Lucid Gallery in downtown Kalamazoo Michigan. In these galleries, he exhibited his own work and the work of other local artists. In 2006 he earned a Merit Scholarship to study painting at the Ox-Bow School of Fine Art in Saugatuck, Michigan. Since 2009, he has been working on a water microcosm series, among other projects. In this painted series, he uses the inherent qualities of water, intensifying the energy, movement, and color as a metaphor for the human experience and an exploration of ecological interconnectedness.

Bernhardt’s work has been purchased for public and private collections throughout the world and exhibited in various nationwide galleries and institutes. Since 2002, he has taught as an Art Instructor at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. In 2013 he earned an MFA from Goddard College, concentrating on painting and drawing. Currently, Bernhardt creates from his studio and home on a wetland protected lake in Southwest Michigan.