Siblings from series Domestic Landscape, Gelatin Silver Print, 8 x 10 inches.
Rita Bernstein began to photograph in earnest after leaving a successful career as a civil rights lawyer. At that time, Bernstein had two young children to whom she was tethered. Bernstein explored the sorrows as well as the sweetness of family life and, more generally, the ambivalence that shadows intimate relationships. Although her subjects were often young people, it was not her intention to examine childhood specifically. Rather, she was interested more broadly in the complex mysteries of the human psyche. Bernstein found the uninhibited behavior of children to be a rich source of clues to the interior life generally; with awkwardness and eloquence, they experience the same psychological and social dramas with which we continue to struggle as adults.
Rita Bernstein was born in Brooklyn, New York, and following a career as a civil rights attorney, she has been a working artist in several genres for many years. She was most recently awarded a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She has also received a B.A. in English, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Barnard College of Columbia University; a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School; and a post-Baccalaureate degree from PAFA.
Her work is represented by KlompChing Gallery (Brooklyn) and Catherine Couturier Gallery (Houston). Her pictures are in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; the University of Michigan Museum of Art; and the Woodmere Art Museum. Her work has been widely exhibited, including at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Griffin Museum; the Noyes Museum of Art; Fleisher Art Memorial; the University of Pennsylvania; Moore College of Art and Design; and the University of the Arts.
Bernstein was selected for the prestigious Fleisher Art Memorial Challenge Exhibition and has also been the recipient of fellowships and grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; the Independence Foundation; the Leeway Foundation; and the Ruttenberg Arts Foundation. Her exhibitions have been reviewed in many publications, including the New York Times; the Photo Review; the Boston Globe; the Philadelphia Inquirer; Black and White Magazine; and Lenswork, among others.