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Bernhardt began painting the Pink Panther after she arrived at the Pink Palace Hotel (also called the Royal Hawai’ian Hotel) located on a sandy beach in Waikiki, Oahu, not far from an eighteen-foot tall bronze sculpture of King Kamehameha I, the greatest Hawai’ian warrior leader who is usually decked out in tons of enormous lei created from eight species of bright pink orchids. The pinkness of this trip continued after she checked into the hotel that featured pink bathroom towels, pink sheets, pink eye masks for sleeping, pink carpeting, pink beach chairs, pink beach towels, pink stationery, pink sunsets, pink pancakes at breakfast, and the Pink Panther on TV screens. After Bernhardt repeatedly watched videos of the panther - lounging atop a huge pink bed and while strolling around the hotel grounds her son, Khalifa continued to watch Pink Panther videos from a cell phone - she decided that the panther could look great on large-scale canvas and large-scale lithographs too.
Bernhardt’s 'Chorma' depicts her Pink Panther under a full-colour miracle of nature—an intense rainbow that can be seen shining its heart out in the foreground before a dark and stormy terrifying sky. Her print references tropical downpours in Puerto Rico where formidable atmospheric disturbances can seemingly miraculously dissipate into full-spectrum rainbow extravaganzas. It could also be interpreted as a self-portrait of Bernhardt having survived the pandemic, and serving more generally as a metaphor of hope and good prevailing over despair and evil. Many can now fortunately envision light at the end of the tunnel, and we also have extraordinary hope that people on our planet can notice the many miracles of nature and save our natural environment.
Represented by the influential CANADA Gallery, Katherine Bernhardt is a key player in New York's contemporary painting scene. She's collaborated with hip-hop superstar Drake, painted a swimming pool in Miami, created a public mural in LA, and runs her own Moroccan carpet import business. Bernhardt's recent solo shows include the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Lever House New York as well as European solo exhibitions at Xavier Hufkens, Brussels and Carl Freedman, London. Bernhardt was born in St Louis, Missouri, in 1975. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.