Awareness merges with object in 'Essential Rhythms' art show

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News
Photo of painting by Justin Bernhardt.

"Light Exchange" by Justin Bernhardt

KALAMAZOO—An open house is planned in late September for a new art show on display at the Western Michigan University College of Health and Human Services that explores the meeting place between art and viewer.

The "Essential Rhythms" exhibit features the work of Justin Bernhardt and is on display in the building's second floor art gallery. A reception, free and open to the public, is scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, in the gallery.

Justin Bernhardt

Bernhardt has been creating art since he was a child growing up next door to artists on either side of his home in Kalamazoo. He went on to earn a bachelor's degree in fine art from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999 and a master's in fine art from Goddard College in February 2013. He has owned and operated two art galleries in Kalamazoo—The Lovell Street Gallery from 2001-2005 and The Lucid Gallery from 2007-2008—where he exhibited local artists' work and his own.

In 2006, he earned a merit scholarship to study at the Ox-Bow School of Fine Art in Saugatuck and earned the Lang Art Scholarship in 1997 from Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C. His work has been purchased for public and private collections throughout the world, and he has taught fine art at Kalamazoo Valley Community College since 2002.

Bernhardt believes there is a place where awareness merges with the object, and only the experience remains. His work is inspired by the ripples, patterns and renewing spiritual qualities of water, and he uses color to "transform the viewer's encounter with place and provide a positive consciousness shift." Through his paintings, he says, "I want to blur the boundaries between self and setting."

Exhibit times and dates

The WMU campus community and the general public are invited to view the exhibit from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday until Oct. 21, with the exception of Saturdays Sept. 28 and Oct. 12 and 19.

For more information, contact Gay Walker at or (269) 387-3839.