Leslie Berns develops 'projects' around a single material: cotton household linens, antique metal tubs, folded paper dixie cups, cut paper bookmarks and wood leveling sticks. Pieces progress from two-dimensional wall works to three-dimensional objects, to performances that culminate in moving image narratives. Themes in her research-based, interdisciplinary practice are experiential, environmental, and social.
She has exhibited her work in Washington, D.C., Berlin, Boston and New York. As part of the Washington Project for the Arts Experimental Media Series (2011), her video performance, Grounding, a silent ritual drama, was selected for a screening at the Hirshhorn Museum. In Heidelberg, Germany, the Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut presented Threshold, a collaboratively choreographed, outdoor performance installation situated among the ruins of Heidelberg's Castle Garden.
Most recently Leslie participated in an “online experiment with language and form” with writers and artists from around the United States in a virtual residency with Arts, Letters and Numbers, Averill Park, New York.
Senior Lecturer in the Department of Art, Berns has taught courses in Art Theory, Two-Dimensional Design, and Foundation and Advanced Drawing and Painting since 2007. Previously she taught at the Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore), American University (Washington, D.C.), the University of Maryland University College (Heidelberg, Germany), and Parsons School of Design (New York).
Born in Buffalo, New York, raised there and in southern California, Berns earned an MFA in painting from the Yale School of Art and Architecture and a BFA, also in painting, from Pratt Institute.