Carolyn Bernstein is an artist who deals with notions of transience and transformation through the sustained examination of everyday things that we often overlook, discard, or choose not to talk about. Her work points to what can be seen and understood behind, beside, through, or in addition to that which is intended to hold our attention or frame our point of view. She reveals her subjects in a range of genres, including installation, sculpture, and photography.
Bernstein's photographic project "Microgeographies," (2012-16), uncovers rich, new visual landscapes through a process she calls "slow-seeing." The photographs in this series open up and expand the significance, meaning, and contexts of overlooked, everyday objects and materials.
In her large-scale installation, "Yew Tree Project" (2006-11), Bernstein integrates science and metaphor with a focus on the contemporary visual culture of medical imaging technologies. In this project, she explores the complexity of networks and interdependencies among private and public institutions and individuals involved in the development of a cancer drug derived from bark of the poisonous yew tree. The International Museum of Surgical Science, Chicago, presented Bernstein's "Yew Tree Project" in a solo exhibition in 2010 and the installation traveled to the Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery in Washington, DC in 2011. In 2009 the work was featured both in exhibitions (including “Confrontation/Contemplation,” Aurora University, Illinois) and publication, with a series of related drawings in "Whitewalls: A Journal of Language and Art" (The University of Chicago Press, 2009). Bernstein's photographic work, from the series, "Reframing Experience (at documenta 12)" was published in "Learning Mind: Experience into Art," edited by Mary Jane Jacob and Jacquelynn Baas (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009).
Bernstein is the recipient of a Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Creative Fellowship Award, participated in an artist residency at the Women’s Studio Workshop in New York, and has exhibited in U.S. cities including Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, where she now lives. Bernstein earned an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008.