Canada proudly provides I’m Bart Simpson, who the hell are you?, an exhibition of new paintings by Katherine Bernhardt. This display finds Bernhardt at her bravura best, continuing to mine the cultural gold of her 1980’s childhood: Ding Dong snack cakes, the Pink Panther, Garfield, E.T. and especially Bart Simpson. Bernhardt has created a generally daring selection, picking Bart mid-moon as her major motif.
Even with the risqué topic make any difference, the paintings aspect luxurious expanses of unadulterated colour. The double parabola of Bart’s yellow tush in “Seymore Butts” is ringed by Working day-Glo pink spray paint and swimming pools of washy purple, contacting to mind the gauzy abstractions of Color Field painting. On the other hand, it can be Bart’s butt!—as deliciously shocking now as it was on Tv during the sunset of the Reagan administration. The transgressive tingle begs the issue: is Bart’s naked (cartoon) derrière offensive? Right after all, male artists have devoted miles of canvas lingering on the erotic prospects of butts. The tension concerning magnificence, shock, terror and humor is never ever considerably from the surface in Bernhardt’s paintings. It’s as if she sees far too substantially and her exhibiting it all will make us uncomfortable. She has the power to grasp her internal sensations and make them noticeable, as very well the ability to channel the continuous churn of pop society.
The top secret of the paintings is that Bernhardt permits paint to do what paint does: puddle and swirl, go over and glow with transparency. The paintings display self esteem around a assortment of dimensions, from the intimacy of a smaller watercolor to the 120 x 248-inch tour de drive “I can not assure to try, but I’ll consider to try”. By producing the paintings encounter-up on the studio flooring, gravity has still left the canvases and cosmic weightlessness has been let in. The drawing is direct and to the place. Bernhardt is not seduced by virtuosity, nor does she mimic anybody else’s model. Her one-of-a-form system permits uncooked associations to tumble out of her spray can and brush with élan.
Then yet again, we return to her matter, Bart. An American archetype: a common rebel without the need of a induce, captivating in his roguishness and continually at odds with authority. In the conclusion, Bart is a excellent male, faithful to pals and relatives. It may well be stretching it to think of Bart as a stand-in for Bernhardt, but the imagined of these equally swashbuckling figures as compadres feels apt. No matter whether or not this is legitimate, there is a lot to get pleasure from in the work, together with a dizzying array of picture-sparks that give Bernhardt the liberty and urgency to make her lifetime and reminiscences dazzlingly authentic.