Leslie Berns creates research-informed bodies of work that spring from everyday materials. In Bookmarks for a Mixed Race Narrative: Who Could and Couldn’t Marry Whom, she works with oil and chalk pastel on wood leveling sticks to graphically interpret and critique "Anti-Miscegenation Laws of the Several States: 1932", a historic document she encountered on the internet. In Quilting the Waterway, an earlier series of works, actions and events, she folded and sewed together paper Dixie cup 'quilts' then floated them on streams to address issues of clean water. Her interdisciplinary projects develop from works on/of paper, to mixed-media objects, and extend to performances in space and time, documented as digital prints and videos.
Born in Buffalo, NY, raised there and in California, she earned an MFA from Yale University and a BFA from Pratt Institute. Her work has been exhibited nationally and in Europe. As part of the Washington Project for the Arts Experimental Media Series, her cinematic video, Grounding, was screened at the Hirshhorn Museum and the Phillips Collection (Washington, D.C.). In Germany she presented performances and exhibitions in the Heidelberg Schloss Garten, at the Unterwegs Theater (Heidelberg) and galerie transition (Berlin).
Formerly a Senior Lecturer in Art at the University of Maryland, she taught Art Theory, Design, Drawing, and Painting. Leslie recently published A Brief Memoir Refracted Through a Love of Plants with Arts, Letters and Numbers (Averill Park, New York). She is currently based in College Park, Maryland and Hudson, New York.