Laura Bernstein (MFA '14) at Vox Populi - Opens Sept 5th

Between a rock and a hard place. offers a sculptural conversation between three female artists: Laura Bernstein (Philadelphia/NYC), Lydia Hardwick (London), and Rachel Rotenberg (Baltimore). Their works operate as the remnants from an otherworldly archaeological dig, marked with the indelible imprint and purposeful grace of their three makers. These are objects for projecting our human tensions and fantasies upon, yet remain concealed within their obtuse configurations. Fragments from an alternate world or fictional alphabets, the sculptural forms are paradoxically familiar yet radically alien. At their core, these are non-functional yet social objects: acknowledging or denying the body, embodying complex human relationships, and birthed through intuition and memory.
Within this exhibition lies the paper mâché world of Laura Bernstein, with its monumental and elegiac carousel made for a social hive mind of activity and the remains of her disbanded army. Lydia Hardwick’s ceramic works are at once trail blazes beckoning us forward into the new places they demarcate, while their colorful layers contain the cartography of a distant land. Rachel Rotenberg’s physical wooden forms are a novel kind of spatial calligraphy – their worn surfaces a palimpsest of the psychologically charged stories they carry.
The continuingly unfolding logic of this installation allows these works to point to and defy the limits of vernacular language and structural representation, as a means of expressing a playful and poetic kind of discourse. Amidst their rough and labored fabrication there is a deliberate and delicate precision of form which aids them in defying time– at once remnants but also maps, scores, and tools for a future unfolding beneath us.
Laura R. Bernstein is multimedia artist who creates movement apparatuses that reorient the body and challenge notions of public and private, utility and absurdity. In 2014 she received her interdisciplinary MFA from the University of Pennsylvania with a certificate in Time-Based & Interactive Media. In 2010, she graduated from RISD with a BFA and Senior Excellence Award in Sculpture. Bernstein was an apprentice at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia (2013), a Vermont Studio Center (2013) and Toby Devan Lewis (2014) Fellow. Her work has been showed in Philadelphia, NY and Austria and is part of the permanent collection of the National Dance Institute in New York.
Lydia Hardwick is an artist working in clay who takes a collage based approach to the medium: splicing, layering, and placing. She currently lives in London after receiving her Masters degree in ceramics and glass from the Royal College of Art in London. In 2014, Hardwick was awarded a residency and exhibition at An Tobar, on the Isle of Mull in Scotland and a month-long residency in Neumünster, Germany at the Künstlerhaus Stadttöpferei. This is her first exhibition in the United States.
Rachel Rotenberg is an artist working in wood, her sculptures present amalgams of relationships, drawn from aspects of her biography and everyday experience. Born in Toronto and currently based in Baltimore, MD, she completed her undergraduate studies at York University in Tortonto and has taken post-graduate courses at the School of Visual Arts in New York and the Banff Centre in Banff, Canada. Rotenberg was a 2012 Pollock-Krasner Grant recipient. Her work has been exhibited in venues including the Delaware Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

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