Darcie Bernhardt’s paintings are currently on view at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, in the exhibition Family Patterns. The artist’s delicate oil paintings, most of large scale, share space with the works of fellow Halifax-based artist Letitia Fraser; both of whom build on the art of traditional portraiture. Bernhardt and Fraser root their work in memories of home, including references from their respective cultures and familial memories in their images.
Bernhardt is Inuvialuk/Gwich’in from Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, currently based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Bernhardt infususes their work with references to life in the North – family members are depicted ice fishing in Nanuk and Nanogak (2018), while Bernhardt’s uncle pieces together patterns for a pair of skin mittens in Nungki (2019). Their first solo exhibition, Akisuktuaq, was held at Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto in June 2021.
In addition to their show at the AGNS, Canadian House & Home Magazine (January/February 2022) features an interview with Bernhardt titled Moments of Truth, written by Diana Hamm. The article speaks to how Bernhardt’s canvases function almost like small, intimate windows into the artist’s past, despite often being executed in large scale. Hamm also points out Bernhardt’s use of rabbit skin glue as a gesso which has a sparkle in its finish, giving the paintings an essence of the arctic sun on snow. The artist’s intention and work is affectionately illustrated and explained in this two page spread.
Family Patterns is on view until February 21, 2022. A virtual walkthrough is available here.
Canadian House & Home (January/February 2022) is on newsstands now and available online here.