Leslie Berns is an interdisciplinary artist known for works in which abstract geometrical frameworks incorporate social, environmental and organic figurative elements. Her work ranges from mixed-media painting and sculptures of wood, paper, textiles and metal to performance and video. Recent reliefs made with oil paint and wood shims reference a personal exploration of multiracial identity and address deeply ingrained social-historical constructs of race and elaborate calculations of color.
Born in Buffalo, New York, raised there and in southern California, she earned an MFA from Yale University and a BFA from Pratt Institute. Her work has been exhibited nationally and in Germany where she lived from 1994-1999. The Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut presented Threshold, a collaboratively choreographed, site-specific performance installation among the ruins of Heidelberg's Castle Garden.
Most recently, Berns has shown her work at the Washington Project for the Arts Auction Gala, Cultural DC Flashpoint Gallery, Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, 39th Street Gallery, et. Al. As part of the Washington Project for the Arts Experimental Media Series (2011), her video performance, Grounding, was selected for a screening at the Hirshhorn Museum.
Berns has taught at Maryland Institute College of Art, American University, Parsons School of Design and Chautauqua Institute. She is a Lecturer in Drawing, Painting and Art Theory at the University of Maryland College Park and lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.