John Bjerklie was born in Los Angeles and lives and works in Elmhurst. He studied at Syracuse University, Maine College of Art, and Washington University, Missouri. He has taught at Savannah College of Art and Design, UNC at Greensboro, Rutgers, and Marymount Manhattan College, among other institutions. He also works as a scenic journeyman painter, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Triangle Artists’ Association, an international artists residency based in Brooklyn.

Bjerklie’s practice involves a wide range of activities that contextualize the act of making paintings and sculpture. Early examples were seen at Parker’s Box Gallery in Brooklyn and Pulse Art Fair, on which occasions Bjerklie embraced multiple identities such as painter, sculptor, political commentator, TV interviewer, debater, trickster, dancer, negotiator, voyeur, performer, poet and auctioneer portrayed through a character known as BigHat, who calls himself a Super Duper Post Modernist Pleinaire Painter.

Using in-situ environments as hosts for sculpture and painting, while at the same time being the stage for his multiple actions, Bjerklie uses surveillance cameras and monitors in order to play with the ambiguities of time and space, fiction and reality, live and recorded footage. Bjerklie’s “state of the art”, low-tech constructions and piles of stuff (mostly scrap wood, painted drop-cloths and TV monitors…) become the theater for parodies and/or critiques of the worlds of art, media, politics and society. His work has been shown at the Floating Studios in Lawrence, Mass., various art school galleries, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Marseille, Elsewhere Artists’ Collaborative and the Weatherspoon in North Carolina.

Most recently BigHat appears in a project known as The Slow Healing Train. Beginning as a 4 month encampment at the Art Lot in Red Hook, Brooklyn, it engages other artists in collaborative ventures. Essentially a migrating studio, the project has appeared in a variety of short term residencies including at ABCnoRio, the Union Docs Film Festival in Brooklyn, and The Loft in Cadaques, Spain, where BigHat and his cronies HotHead and CoolHead instigate live painting performances where spectators often become participants. Since 2014, Bjerklie (along with his personas) has been Artist in Residence during the summer at Minoterie21 in Peillac, France.

John Bjerklie Arts — New York, 11373