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Tuesday, 21 November 2006


Bernie Carreño
Big Art

Bernie Carreño was born in New York City. His grandparents on his father's side immigrated to the United States from Cuba and Columbia in the 1920s. As the Carreño family grew they remained tightly knit. The Brooklyn house Bernie grew up in, at 562 East 22nd Street (between Newkirk and Foster avenues in the Flatbush section) was shared by his siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents. Latin culture was preserved in the home by his grandparents, Papi and Nena.

After Bernie received a New York State Regents Scholarship, he began to study drawing and illustration at the Pratt Institute of New York. He also studied painting with Isaac Soyer at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. His studies were interrupted when he was drafted to fight in the Vietnam War. While on leave in Chicago, he attended a USO dance where he met a Milwaukee girl who would later become his wife. After he finished his duty, they moved to Milwaukee to raise their three children. He continued his studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he earned a BFA in Sculpture and an MFA in Sculpture. He was a recipient of a Knapp Scholarship and a Vilas Scholarship.

Bernie has received numerous fellowships, including the Cintas Fellowship and the AOP Fellowship. He has taught various sculpture classes at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

His sculptures can be found in collections in Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, and New York. He has exhibited in galleries throughout the Midwest and New York.

In the 1990s, Bernie took a hiatus from creating sculpture. He relocated to Indianapolis in order to accept a job as the Director of Operations for South America for GM/Delco Electronics. He maintained an office in Miami and worked closely with GM offices in Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, and Columbia.

Bernie recently retired from GM/Delco and started creating sculpture again.

He is now the Sculpture Department Head for the Indianapolis Art Center. He teaches a variety of classes, including Stone Sculpture, Mold Making, and Iron Casting. He has exhibited in the Dean Johnson Gallery and the Indianapolis Art Center.

Bernie's art includes tabletop-sized figures that have the rough-hewn, skeletal abstractness of the artist Giacometti. 'Impotente' (powerless) is an effective symbol of marginalization, both culturally and individually. Here, a female figure stands with arms splayed and blunted into stumps where her hands would be. She floats, footless.