The Artist's Gaze: Cindy Bernhard

Interview with Cindy Bernhard
The Artist's Gaze
Curated by Victoria Selbach
Sirona Fine Art Gallery

What compels you to the specific women you choose to paint?

In my series "Dualities" I choose to paint myself and women that I know very well.  For me, it is important to know the spirit and personality of my subject inside and out in order to capture the certain essence of my model's spirit.

When do you know you have made a significant connection to your subject and what does that feel or look like from your perspective?

As cliche as it sounds it really is something that is hard to pinpoint.  In my "dualities" series I was interested in using my work to explore contract and contradiction which included calm and anxious, loose and tight, control and lack of control, weakness and strength, etc.  So, once I feel like I achieved these aspects in my work which were all struggles my personal models were dealing with, I felt the connection was made.

Tell us about a strong reaction you have received to your work and the impact you sense it has made on the subject, viewer or the greater cultural landscape.

While painting "Mother Blue" which is a life size painting of my sick mother, I had many strong reactions from viewers with this painting.  I think it reminded them of people they all have loved and seen in pain, which is a difficult process to watch unfold and be a part of.

What is it about your personal journey that has brought your gaze to focus so deeply on women.

I paint from what I know, at the time I was a 20 year old woman and I felt painting women was the most honest subject that I could paint.  I was and still am figuring out the artist I want to become, but at the time this series was painted, women were the most honest subject I felt I could depict. 

Tell us about your current series or work and how it may be different from the work submitted for the show.

After attending graduate school my current body of work has changed pretty drastically.  I am now working on a smaller scale of sculptures and oil paintings that I title my "Love Poem" series.  My past and current work can be viewed on my website at

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