New Exhibit at Hollins Presents “Things That Are Not”

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Barbara Bernstein’s art is not what it seems.

Barbara Bernstein’s art is not what it seems.
Barbara Bernstein’s art is not what it seems.

The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum on the Hollins University campus is presenting an exhibit of art that will be dismantled after August 22 – so see it while you can.

“Things are not what they seem, nor are they otherwise,” the title of the exhibition, was named by Bernstein after a Buddhist expression. The Queens, NY native is now the artist in residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst, a retreat for artists of all stripes in Amherst.

“It’s been absolutely phenomenal…a beautiful place,” said Bernstein of her time at the VCCA. She’s taught at Yale, Carnegie-Mellon and other schools in the past, but is now focusing on her work at the Amherst retreat.  “This is the first time I haven’t taught.”

“Things are not,” is site-specific, meaning the pieces created there will not exist after August 22. It also means some were inspired by the architecture found on the Hollins campus. Bernstein created her two and three-dimensional works using foam core, electrical tape and construction paper.

“It’s really about questioning what we perceive… to make very complex and philosophical issues not only understandable and accessible, but also fun.” Bernstein calls it “smart and fun,” art.  “It’s not common and easy to get. I’m aiming for that.” Still she wants the exhibit to be “enjoyable.”

Eleanor D. Wilson Museum director Amy Moorefield said the site-specific exhibit will focus people’s attention “on the impermanence of the work.” Several visits by Bernstein to the Hollins campus gave her the inspiration needed. “You might recognize some building facades,” notes Moorfield, “and some landscape elements.”

The items she uses “is still challenging for some people,” said Bernstein, “because I’m using disposable materials.”

The experiences and memories patrons take away by August 22 is the real work of art according to Bernstein.

“There’s a sense of nostalgia for the viewer,” adds Moorefield, who has tried to push the boundaries a bit as director since coming to the Wilson Museum last year.

Visit Hollins.edu for more information.