Leslie Berns creates interdisciplinary 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 encountered on the internet. In Quilting the Waterway, an earlier series of works, actions and events addressing issues of clean water, her folded, sewn paper Dixie cup 'quilts' floated on streams. Berns develops projects by starting with works on or of paper, moving to three-dimensional objects, then extending images and forms to performances in space and time, documented as digital prints and video.
Born in Buffalo, NY, raised there and in California, she earned an MFA from Yale University and a BFA from Pratt Institute. Following her return to the U.S. after living and working in Germany with her husband and two children, as a Senior Lecturer in Art at the University of Maryland she taught Art Theory, Design, Drawing, and Painting.
Berns has exhibited at venues in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere nationally and internationally. Through the Washington Project for the Arts Experimental Media Series, her video Grounding was screened at the Hirshhorn Museum and the Phillips Collection. As part of a virtual residency for writers and artists with Arts, Letters and Numbers, Averill Park, New York, she recently published A Brief Memoir Refracted Through a Love of Plants. Leslie divides her time between College Park, Maryland and Hudson, New York.