A resident of Santa Fe since 1981, I am a former gallery owner, teacher, author, painter, and printmaker. I have been active for 30 years in Santa Fe’s art scene. My works have been exhibited in such diverse locations as San Francisco, Paris, and New York’s Lincoln Center. In 2005 my paintings became the focus of the film OFF THE MAP starring Joan Allen and Sam Elliott. While known in the past for my printmaking and large-scale architectural renderings in watercolor, monotype, and egg tempera, for the last 10 years I have been exploring a kind of figurative abstraction using a variety of media.
Graphics Workshop, Santa Fe, NM 1981 – 2002
Shortly after moving to Santa Fe I was fortunate enough to meet Ron Pocrasso. A New York-trained printmaker, he had arrived in town the year before to open Graphics Workshop. Over the next five years I worked full time in his studio, either printing my own works or pulling prints for other artists, many of whom were the movers and shakers of their generation. Through their generosity and by their example my true education began. I continued to produce monotypes, etchings, and lithographs for the next twenty years. For several years I joined the College of Santa Fe Monothon as one of their Master Printmakers, pulling prints for many of the artists taking part in the week-long event.
Stan Berning Studio/Gallery 1991 – 1994
In 1987 my print work began attracting the interest of a few collectors and dealers. By 1989 I was showing this work with The Artists Gallery, one of the better art cooperatives in the country. After three years of steadily building success I had an offer to show with a fine crafts gallery. After a year of no sales, having obviously made the wrong move, I opened Stan Berning Studio/Gallery a half block from the New Mexico Museum of Art on Palace Avenue. Here I showed the work of three other artists and myself.
Over the next three years I painted nine shows, each as divergent as possible from the last. Each of these shows became the equivalent of a college thesis. From the highly representational, to architectural and figurative abstraction, I explored a large territory. To this day, when it comes to painting, I know no fear. This creative surge, combined with the responsibility of overseeing every part of the business, allowed me, for the first time really, to exercise all my varied talents, many of which I was not aware I possessed. By the time of its closing my sales were approaching six figures. I had established a healthy mailing list of collectors and began showing with a number of galleries in other parts of the country.
Stan Berning Studios / College of Santa Fe 1983 – 2001
In 1986 Ron Pocrasso closed Graphics Workshop and moved most of the presses and other equipment to the campus of the College of Santa Fe (now Santa Fe University of Art and Design). I moved, along with the presses, and soon began teaching workshops. With the opening of Stan Berning Studio/Gallery I set up my own print studio and taught there until its closing. Over the years I have had less time to teach as the demands of a painting career have grown and my interest in printmaking has receded.
about art – A Memoir / art criticism 2008 – present
I have always kept a journal and I have read most of the classics of literature. In 2005, with the corporate art market imploding, the advent of digital reproductions taking hold, and the global recession on its way, I became profoundly disappointed in the art market. Out of that time came the memoir about art, my first effort at a serious piece of writing. If I live long enough I think there is probably another book in me.
PAINTER / ARTIST
From my first childhood drawings there has always been an impulse within me towards new experiences and self discovery. As I grew from a child copying the images from Christmas cards onto brown paper bags into a young man trying to paint one good painting, and later as I became an adult striving to make a living from my calling, my life’s goal has been to be a good painter. No matter the role I am playing, whether it be that of printmaker, gallery owner, teacher, or author, business man, traveler, husband, or student, my will has always been bent towards that one goal of living genuinely as an artist.
Painting has become for me a balance between the inertial thrust of ideas and the subliminal nature of the aesthetic impulse; I have strived for a balance between what I think and what I feel. Since 2001 I have devoted my attention to a series of figuratively based abstractions. The result is evident in the work, which I will leave to others to evaluate.
I am self taught. After a very good early education, I audited classes at Oberlin College in Ohio in 1972-73 and at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana in 1974. But my real education did not begin until my arrival in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the best artists in the country. In this ever more interconnected world there is no such thing as a self taught artist. I have had great teachers at every step along the way and for that I am grateful.
My roots are in abstraction. Originally, I used watercolor and mixed media on paper. After moving to Santa Fe I began working with, plein air painters Tommy Masioni and Jimmie Walk. The work taught me to see color and study a more realistic approach. In 1981 I was introduced to the monotype process, which led to etching, colligraph and other printmaking. While working under the influence of a large group of Santa Fe’s leading contemporary artists, I returned to my abstract roots. I find my appreciation for realism to be a constant rejuvenating force.
While studying a full range of subject, technique and material, I have strived to create work that resonates with the viewer subliminally through the use of color and form. At their best these paintings are complex visions which defy easy answers. When truly successful they evoke a simplicity which is not present.
My paintings have found homes in some very fine private and corporate collections. Here is a partial list:
Merrill Lynch / Amsterdam Print & Lithograph Corp. / Nations Bank / Volvo of North America / Bank of Tokyo / Zimmer Group / Standard Federal Bank / Hyatt Hotels / Hilton Hotels / Transport Life Insurance / Gordon Design Group/ Apogee Finance Group / Hallmark Inc. / U.S. West Communications / Mirabella & Kincaid, P.A. / GATX Corporation / MCI Telecommunications Corporation / Compaq Computer Corporation / Southwest Airlines
Over the course of my professional career I have averaged nearly three shows a year. For purposes of brevity I have made this a very partial list. I have tried to enter galleries no more than once, even those I have worked with for many years. I did multiple shows at quite a number of these galleries. Annual events, such as the College of Santa Fe Monothon, which lasted for ten years, are listed only once.
DR Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM
2009Aberson Exhibits, Tulsa OK
“A Natural History Part Five”
2007Farrell Fischoff Gallery, Santa Fe NM
“Deus ex Paper” (group)
2006Joseph Gierek Fine Art, Tulsa OK
Lincoln Center, New York NY
“A Natural History Part Three”
Gremillion and Company, Houston TX
“Paintings From OFF THE MAP”
Miami Dade Community College, Miami FL
Mary Washington College Museum, Fredericksburg VA
Wisteriahurst Museum, Holyoke MA
“Egg Tempera: An Enduring Tradition” (group)
The Foothills Art Center, Colorado Springs CO
“Northern New Mexico Printmakers” (group)
Butters Gallery, Portland OR
College of Santa Fe, Santa Fe NM
Galerie Mirellie Batut d’Haussy, Paris FR
Expressions in Fine Art, Santa Fe NM
“First Through Fifth Planet”
Marie Park, Dallas TX
Site Santa Fe Santa Fe NM
“A Tribute to Monothon Printers” (group)
The Select Art Gallery, Sedona AZ
Faber Birren National Color Awards Show, Stamford CT
Saint Johns College, Santa Fe NM
“Studies For Twenty Canvas”
Marguerite Oestreicher Fine Art, New Orleans LA
1991 – 1994
Stan Berning Gallery Studios, Santa Fe NM
The Artists Gallery, Santa Fe NM
“Prints and Paintings”