“Marginalized,” is the artwork of Chicago artist Gerda Meyer Bernstein that was displayed at Bradley University’s Hartmann Center Gallery. The exhibit is part of the Midwest Women Artists 1940-1960 symposium that was held at the Bradley in October of 2015.
Born in Westphalia, Germany, and but currently living and working in Chicago, Bernstein made an emotionally and politically charged installation on a human scale. Bernstein escaped Nazi Germany as a child in one of the last Kindertransports, but lost many of her family members. This greatly influences her work, and her goal is to not remain silent, “as a witness to social and political injustices”.
Meyer Bernstein uses 2D constructions, installation, and mixed media to enable viewers to view and participate in her scenarios. “Marginalized,” a 2006 installation piece, measures 22 feet in diameter.
“Marginalized expresses my concerns with the inequality of women internationally,” said Bernstein. “The 22- by 22-foot installation with 22 female life-size figures, clad in loose burlap material dyed green, the color of used army parachutes, are installed in a circle, which emphasizes the continuous abuse of women.”
“The parachute lends importance because of its previous use as a life saving device,” she said. “There remains a pervasive gender inequality which keeps women from asserting their human rights.
“My art is forced to be political by crisis. … Silence is the biggest offender. With breaking the silence I hope to challenge the viewers’ sensibilities.”
The exhibit is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. The Hartmann Center Gallery is located at 1400 W. Bradley Ave., Peoria.
Exercise in Futility, 2008 (Above)