Elisheva Biernoff’s paintings of photographs involve close looking and slow painting: lingering over pictures of strangers and paying attention to the overlooked and undervalued. The paintings are simulated artifacts, remade to scale as truly as possible. To create this work, the artist finds photographs of domestic scenes and anonymous people who wouldn’t necessarily be the subject of paintings. The source photographs touch on shared experiences but also have some slightly remarkable or unusual aspect. Recent paintings have often depicted photographs that have failed in a variety of ways. By painting the photographs, Biernoff brings the latent emotional content to the surface.
Fraenkel Gallery presented solo exhibitions of Biernoff’s work in 2017 and 2021, each accompanied by monographs published by the gallery. Biernoff received an MFA from California College of the Arts and a BA from Yale University. She also studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. The artist was recently in residence at the MacDowell Colony, and her work has been exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Contemporary Jewish Museum, the Asian Art Museum, and CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco; New Orleans Museum of Art; Copenhagen’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art; and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. Biernoff’s work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, and Albright-Knox Art Gallery, among others.