Born in 1989 in rural Illinois, Cindy Bernhard grew up on a pig farm with a pastoral landscape – a landscape that is now being turned into subdivisions, which she calls “distressing, because farming may be a way of life for some, but it is a necessity for everyone.” Inspired by these changes, her work is a romantic reverie of these disappearing spaces. In her pictures the pig recurs as a personal figurative metaphor to symbolize loss, alienation, desire, and love. Her paintings are objective representations but gleans aspects from non-objective modern aesthetics, such as the pictorial tension between deep space and a flatness that acknowledges the picture plane as well as synthetic color. In her work, Bernhard wants to create a spatial context for her figures to exist in, so she utilizes a semi-surreal space or a space of the mind. “I conceive of my paintings as visual poems that utilize rhythmic relationships of scale, placement, and value to direct the emotional content of empathy, irony, playfulness, and humor.”
Bernhard earned her Master of Fine Arts in Painting at the Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach, California; her Bachelor’s degree in Painting with specialization in Watercolor from the American Academy of Art, Chicago, and has previously studied at the Vitruvian Fine Art Studio in Chicago and the Sons of Turner Painting Workshop in Savannah, Georgia. She has served as an instructor for numerous institutions including the Evanston Art Center and American Academy of Art in Chicago, as well as the Laguna College of Art and Design and has received numerous awards and accolades, including Best of Show, Manifest: Rites of Passage Exhibition (2011); Best of Show President’s Award, American Academy of Fine Art Exhibition (2011); and First Place Illustration Award, American Academy of Art Exhibition (2008 and 2009). Cindy Bernhard has taken part in dozens of exhibitions in throughout California, New York, and Chicago, and was one of the featured artists in JNFA’s special exhibition “Chicago in Paris” at France’s Galerie Boicos.