Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893, Oil, pastel, cardboard, tempera, 29 x 32 inches
In my work, I always look to “NAIL IT!,” meaning that I aim for my artwork to have the highest possible impact while addressing the severest aspects of humanity – that’s why I’ve chosen to speak on Edvard Munch’s The Scream. This work feels most connected to my oeuvre.
The Scream is an iconic artwork that has reached the masses, beyond a fine arts audience, to become a staple of pop culture. Munch paints the Norwegian sky with the primordial energy one expects of his screaming figure. He created a vertigo inducing composition, extraordinary in its manifestation of Existentialism, a movement of constant self-analysis in an unfathomable universe. I believe that all of the elements of the universe are linked in a complex system that parallel human interaction.
Judith Bernstein, Birth of the Universe: Gold Cunt, 2013, Oil on canvas, 236 x 238 cm
As a graduate student at Yale, I was influenced by men’s bathroom graffiti. I realized that graffiti has psychological depth because when someone’s alone and releasing on the toilet they’re also releasing from the subconscious. In my Fuck Vietnam Series (1960s), Screw Series (1970s), and Signature Piece (1980s), I employ the phallus as a symbol for male posturing. I’ve always been fascinated by the artist’s ego, a subject that I address head on in my large scale Signature Piece (reaching 16’ x 66’ at New Museum, New York). The signature becomes my self-portrait- it’s about fame, male posturing, and my own ego. I am here – DEAL WITH IT!!!
In my fluorescent Birth of the Universe series, I address a humorous but also rageful relationship between men, women, and the universe. Like Munch’s Scream, my work is subversive to the point of threatening: while mining the subconscious it tears down and redefines what came before it – becoming an amalgamation of sexuality, feminism, and warfare.
Judith Bernstein, Double Header, 1976, Charcoal and paper, 9 x 28 feet
For over fifty years, New York based artist Judith Bernstein has created expressive drawings and paintings that boldly address the underlying psychological connection between warfare and sexual aggression. She is currently taking on today’s political atrocities with her latest series Cabinet of Horrors, which will be the title of her upcoming solo show at The Drawing Center (October 2017 – January 2018).