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Bernard Emerik

The academic painter Emerik Bernard (born in 1937 in Celje) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana in 1965 and finished his specialization under the mentorship of Professor Gabrijel Stupica in 1968. He worked as an independent artist for several years and then became an assistant professor of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in 1985 and a full professor later on. Apart from the many other awards he received, he was also the winner of the Prešeren Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1997. According to the words of Tomaž Brejc, PhD, Professor at the Academy of Fine arts, the artistic contribution of Emerik Bernard to the development of Slovene art can be proclaimed as thus far the most influential and the most successful synthesis of modernist principles together with post-modernist graphic innovations. He proved that a decisive creative action can surpass the dogmatic belief about the unbridgeable discrepancy between the analytic, reductive rigidity of modernism and the expressive openness of post-modernism. He thereby carved his name into the history of Slovene 20th century painting. His anthropological experience always acquires an aesthetic dimension and his paintings function as perceptional and representational syntheses that speak of exquisite artistic insight, which visually harmonizes all natural and social contradictions. As Professor Tomaž Brejc points out, this is the kind of painting that allows us to grasp the high qualities of historical experience: beauty and harmony, symbolic content and autonomous form. Bernard is a relentless critic of his own art, but masterpieces are borne out of grand doubts and creative crises: what was only sensually fleeting in an expressively decorative painting of a “new image”, acquires the sensation of duration, spirituality and depth in Bernard’s work.