"I want to link the heart with the eye so that the invisible speaks through the visible."
I paint water microcosms. I seek moments in nature to explore the expansive human spirit and cosmos. Every gestured mark plays off the one before and leads into the next, much like music or dance. Color amplifies the vision. This work can be called Eco-Expressionist as it investigates the natural ecosystems of wetlands, creeks, and lakes, while exploring the spiritual ecology of the interconnected mind with a painterly approach. I use energetic brushwork and color as light to reflect heightened states of being, and to show the ever changing states of nature.
Justin Bernhardt graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BFA in 1999. In 2013, he earned an MFA from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. His focus has been on painting and drawing since 1989 when he transitioned from practicing the violin into the visual arts. In 1999, he traveled the U.S. in his van creating paintings of the natural sites to begin his career as a professional artist. He owned two art galleries in Kalamazoo for five years exhibiting his own and other artists' work. Bernhardt's paintings have been collected by hospitals, colleges, schools, businesses, and private collectors worldwide. He has won many art awards including two Purchase Prize awards, a Best of Show, a Merit Scholarship to study at Ox-Bow School of Fine Art, and the Lang Scholarship to study at Guilford College. His work is currently represented by Malton Gallery in Cincinnati, OH, and by Amy Zane in Kalamazoo, MI. Bernhardt has taught painting and drawing since 2002 at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. He paints from his studio and home on a partial wetland lake in Southwest Michigan, where he lives with his wife and son.
5% of the profits from every painting sale on this website goes to the Michigan Lake and Stream Associations, Inc., which "is a non-profit, primarily volunteer organization dedicated to preserving, protecting and effectively managing Michigan’s vast treasure of inland lakes and streams as well as advocating for the protection of riparian property rights."