Bernice Koff | Orange County Artists Guild
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As a process-oriented painter, I become intrigued with new materials and tools. I use acrylic inks for their dramatic colors, handmade papers and digitally printed photos as both supports and collage elements. Squeegees, toothbrushes and popsicle sticks are as likely to move my paint across the surface as are paintbrushes. I often apply paint first and then draw second; as I see images emerge on the surface, I bring them forward using the appropriate materials. These images come from my imagination but are often rooted in the vast file of photos I take, whether of flowers in my garden or more unique sights seen while traveling. I may use the photo itself as a collage element in the painting or merely refer to it while I work.

While fascinated by the human form, the people in my paintings are not those one meets in daily life; they are actors, geishas, clowns, women and men hiding behind masks and fans. In their eyes might be a hint of the emotions behind their painted beauty. I am drawn to theatre, revealing my New York upbringing, to art history, reflecting an education as an art museum docent, and to the joy I find in travel. While I love nature’s beauty, colorful fish, butterflies and flowers, I just as often respond to things man-made: floral arrangements, art objects, wine bottles and cityscapes.

My other, and strongest influences, are literature and language. Images from Shakespeare, phrases in English, French and Italian, and references to the world of art are the subject of my paintings. Such references may be recognizable to the viewer or simply part of the emotional content of the work. While striving to make art that is original and creative, I am still a traditional painter in that, however abstractly, I work on a two-dimensional surface.

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Bernice Koff
200 Oval Park Place
Chapel Hill

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