Bernardino’s enigmatic portraits deliberately copy, rework and recreate individuals from historic paintings. In seeking an elusive connection with the past she uncovers the processes behind the original and transcribes marks across time. She blanks out the subject’s faces after having painted them to force the observer to re-examine the attribute of identity we ascribe to portraiture. One might see such an act as vandalism but it explores aesthetic, social, political and moral attitudes we hold toward both art and representations of history.
The permanent state of flux of modernity is the focus of the artwork of Wanda Bernardino. Bernardino speaks of modernity haunting her work; wrestling with the issue that we consider modernity to be today, but in the past modernity was considered to be that time. Our yesterday was at some point modernity, and by a similar token modernity to us will be someone else’s past. This idea is taken and is presented by reworking historical paintings: ‘ restaging the artistic process that was initially undertaken, and [to] explore the sensation of making and remaking the marks that created the subjects’. A visible vector by which temporal emphasis is conveyed is by blanking out the faces of the paintings’ subjects, a process which forces the observer to recognize that the paintings do not have a permanent history . Bernardino’s brush marks ‘make the subject disappear and yet remain, moving beneath the surface of the painting – replacing classical form with material content.’
double portraitfemale artistfemale portraitsistersdefacementoil on canvas