Victoria Clare Bernie is a visual artist. Her practice is concerned with landscape and representation, with the picturing of geographies and histories, patterns of human and non-human occupation over time. In the politics of landscape priority resides with the official version, with ownership and property lines, yield and use. These are the stories of wealth and power, of war and empire, industry and improvement that overlay the western landscape. Under the weight of such authority the small histories and oral accounts, the apocrypha of a place, are lost. Part documentary as art, part visual and acoustic fiction, Bernie’s work seeks out strange details from which to develop alternative histories, stories and landscapes as large-scale site-specific video installations in gallery and non-gallery sites, feature length and short films, single and multiscreen constructs, drawings, photo-works and texts.
Bernie’s practice is marked by a combination of craftsmanship and rigour, by incessant protocols of archive and inventory, fieldwork and interview. Strange, immersive, inhabitable films result. Operating somewhere between optical science and optical entertainment - the camera obscura, panorama and microscope are recurring figures in her work - she cultivates a world of extreme close-up and topographic survey, a visual language in dialogue with both the real and the imagined. Drawing is a constant in her work. Drawing as a process of investigation and invention, observational, cartographic and fictional. She works independently and in collaboration with architects, landscape architects, ecologists, geographers, historians, marine and freshwater scientists, prawn fishermen and mountain path menders.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Victoria Clare Bernie received an MA in Fine Art from Edinburgh University and Edinburgh College of Art, a Postgraduate Diploma in Printmaking from Edinburgh College of Art and a Masters in Architecture History and Theory from McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.
Bernie has been the recipient of a Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residency Award, a Creative Scotland Visual Arts Artist's Bursary Award, a Film and Video Umbrella Project Development Award, Hope Scott Trust Awards, a British Council Canada Visual Arts Professional Exchange Grant, a Shetland Arts Trust Award, an Arts Trust of Scotland Award, a City of Edinburgh Visual Arts and Crafts Award, Scottish Arts Council Assistance Grants and a Leverhulme Trust Study Abroad Studentship.