Studio #317 – John Bernhard

John Bernhard is a Swiss American artist, photographer, and writer who traveled North America extensively before settling in Houston, Texas in 1980. For more than three decades he has chosen the medium of photography to explore the everyday world from new perspectives, breaking away into different pathways of artistic expression. He continues to devote his energy taking photographs and bringing them together to enhance their meaning with visual interplay.

He is the author of 9 books among which are: Nudes Metamorphs, Nicaragua, Diptych, Evanescence, Drift, China and his most recent monograph Body Work, a thirty years retrospective of photographs of the Nudes.

Starting in 1985 with a solo exhibition at the Houston Center for Photography, Bernhard has had more than 30 solo shows, three museum exhibitions, and many collective exhibitions throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

In addition, Bernhard’s photographs are included in 20 museum’s permanent collections, such as the Denver Museum of Art, Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, Musée de la Photographie, (Belgium), Musée de L’Elysée, (Switzerland), Museet for Fotokunst, (Denmark), New Mexico Museum of Arts, Pushkin Museum of Art, (Russia), Southeast Museum of Photography, (Florida), and The Museum of Fine Arts, (Houston). His art has also been collected by the International Cultural Center ICASALS of Texas Tech University, and by the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas.  In 2001 his photographs were exhibited in Body Work curated by Christian Peterson, a 120-year survey of photographs of the nude selected from the permanent collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. In 2004 his work was exhibited as a retrospective at the Musée des Suisses dans le Monde in Geneva, Switzerland. His children’s portrait series Blue Marble – Environmental Destruction Through the Eyes of Children made its debut with a solo exhibition at Rice University, Houston, in 2011 and was featured on the Artist A Day online gallery.

Bernhard’s work has been reviewed in such publications as Communication Arts, Graphis, Photo District New Magazine, The Houston Chronicle, ArtSpeak Magazine, Swiss Review, and has been widely published in such book as Love & Desire by William A. Ewing, (Chronicle Books), Female Contemporary Nude Photography III, (UDYAT), Spain, and The Nude Bible,(Tectum Publishers, Belgium).


Artist Statement

I always work on specific themes, and keep several on the stove at once. My choice of themes fluctuates between dream and reality, between reflection and emotion, fueled by a strong fascination with transformation. It is the transformation, transition, and change in people, bodies and minds, myself, and our environment that I am pursuing.


Studio # 317