Elisheva Biernoff: The Tools Are in Your Hands, is an immersive, interactive mural installation that will delight visitors of all ages and highlights MarinMOCA's historic campus and location at Hamilton Field. Originally conceived for an exhibition at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, Biernoff has adapted the installation for MarinMOCA, responding to an original mural sited within the museum’s lobby, and the utopian mindset, and vision, behind the creation of the Hamilton Wetlands Restoration Project and the Bay Trail. Airstrips where bombers had taxied were submerged to make way for restored coastal wetlands; toxic waste was cleaned up so wildlife could return, and over three decades, scores of people have worked together in an ongoing project to create 500 miles of hiking trails along the shorelines of the Bay Area.
Biernoff's stylized landscape, painted on steel sheets, resembles the surrounding terrain of Marin. Using her site-specific magnet designs, referencing the mingling and co-existence of nature, farmland, and the built environment unique to Hamilton Field, visitors can participate in the creation of a utopian landscape, building on previous formations or creating new ones. Visually and conceptually, the piece evokes children’s toys, such as Colorforms or Legos, that allow one to reconfigure a scene at will. The installation is ultimately hopeful: We can, and do, shape our world through individual and collective action.
An accompanying artist-designed takeaway map will be available in the lobby to guide visitors from the museum to nearby trails where they can enjoy the restored coastal wetlands and the history of Hamilton Field.
Imagine Utopia and See What Sticks [link]
Cover: Elisheva Biernoff, Hamilton Field magnet designs, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.
Elisheva Biernoff, Installation view of The Tools Are In Your Hands, 2013, commissioned for Work in Progress: Considering Utopia, Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco. Steel, acrylic latex, and magnets. Courtesy of the artist and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.
Elisheva Biernoff paints both intimate details and expansive vistas. Her skilled mastery of the medium fuses with a conceptual focus on myth and memory in the creation of both tiny and large-scale paintings. Her work considers the moment where fiction meets reality, leaving interpretation to the viewer. 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. 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, among others. 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.