Katherine Bernhardt - New Now London Tuesday, December 8, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Kate MacGarry, London

  • Exhibited

    London, Kate MacGarry, Painting 1, 2, 3, 13 June-18 July 2015

  • Catalogue Essay

    “From walking around NYC one day I saw graffiti near Union Square, graffiti that included a popsicle, a smiley face, a watermelon, a dollar sign and something else… So I appropriated those images and then I made paintings in that fashion.”
    Katherine Bernhardt interviewed in 2015

    Initially gaining recognition in the early 2000s through her figurative works, Katherine Bernhardt has turned her attention away from this subject matter, and has become focused on ‘pattern paintings’. Influenced heavily by a trip to Morocco Bernhardt made in 2007, we see a series full of colour and two-dimensionality. The present lot, Hawaiian Punch (2014) is a fantastic example of this. The artist’s captivation with the colourful prints of African textiles, the eclectic patterns of Moroccan rugs and the loud tags of urban graffiti is ever present in the work.

    Bold colours and simplified forms create an overall flatness akin to fabric designs, whilst the background tones of fluorescent pink and purple emulate the tropical nature of her subject matter. What Bernhardt captures is the cliché, sexy, nocturnal Hawaii – tropical cocktails, cigarettes, pineapples, watermelon and other exotic fruits reverberate in a hallucinogenic swirling space where any sense of time is eradicated in favour of enjoyment, pleasure and fun.

  • Artist Biography

    Katherine Bernhardt

    American • 1975

    Katherine Bernhardt, whether in her paintings or make-shift Moroccan rugs, is rapt by neons and geometries. The artist, who works in New York, takes an almost hasty-flick of a brushstroke that lands as a jagged architectural form — figures cut in space and in buzzing colors that leave a mental trace.

    Seemingly each month, multiple galleries, museums or art fairs across the world exhibit Bernhardt's large-scale fantasies and rug-centric installations, as seen in 2017 at Art Basel and with a solo retrospective at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth. "I think the best painters don't intellectualize their own art—they just make stuff," she says; but with sharks circling trash in the water in today's climate, as is depicted in Sharks, Toilet Paper and Plantains, it's not hard to see Bernhardt's deeper meanings. 

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Hawaiian Punch

acrylic and spray paint on canvas
243.8 x 304.8 cm (95 7/8 x 120 in.)
Signed, titled and dated 'Katherine Bernhardt "Hawaiian Punch" 2014' on the reverse.

£20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for £37,500

Contact Specialist
Tamila Kerimova
Head of Sale
+44 207 318 4065

New Now

London Auction 9 December 2015 2pm