Faculty Fellowship Exhibition
After an intensive jurying process, Fleisher teaching artists Henry Bermúdez and Bernard Collins were selected as the 2019 faculty fellows. Bermúdez is the recipient of the Dene M. Louchheim Faculty Fellowship, which was created in memory of Dene Louchheim, who served as chair of Fleisher from 1964 to 1980. Collins has been awarded The Fred and Naomi Hazell Faculty Fellowship, established by artist, musician, poet and craftswoman Naomi Hazell to support the efforts specifically for painters working in oils.
An exhibition of both fellows’ work will be on view in Fleisher’s galleries December 6, 2018, through January 24, 2019. An opening reception will be held Thursday, December 6
Bermúdez’s paintings are steeped in mythical dream imagery, an otherworldliness of carefully constructed swirling forms, lush color and splashes of gold. His palette is rich and vibrant. Earthy jewel tones saturate the canvases, and his use of gold-leaf marks his work with a bright warm light. His figures emerge from the rich complexity of their settings, intertwining and flowing. His paintings exude a surrealistic atmosphere, suggesting a mythology full of complex cultures lost in the wilds of the jungle or living in a primordial world. Vines and trees are sinuous tangles emerging from the background, winding around themselves and figures. Horses, serpents and mythical figures are gracefully powerful striations of muscle and sensuality. The artist’s paintings deftly explore the intersection of pre-Columbian and Christian, melding the two cultures and creating a new language of images and meanings.
Bermúdez’s work has been placed in many prestigious public and private collections throughout Central and North America. Major museum collections include the museums of contemporary art in Caracas, Maracaibo, Merida and Maracay in Venezuela, as well as others. He was selected to be the Venezuelan representative for the 1986 Venice Biennale and has been the subject of numerous articles. His work has been included in many exhibition catalogs including the X International Print and Drawing Exhibition of China, as well as in books on the subject of Venezuelan art.
Collins’ paintings are a reflection of his desire to understand the human body and soul. As an African American artist he had had to balance his educational background, which has been firmly grounded in European techniques, and his desire to capture the liveliness and innovation that is present in African American culture.
The painted faces that have become important to his body of work represent the raw creative energy that pulses within all people of color. His models have always been my fellow artists, writers, poets, rappers, or singers. Collins is currently working to expand this body of work to include very young and elderly subjects. Their life experiences will be reflected in the way he applies paints to their faces and bodies.