“Whilst traveling I soon discovered my favorite art, architecture and landscapes are deeply connected to the place from which they have grown.”
Bernard Trainor was raised on the Mornington Peninsula along Australia’s rugged South Eastern Coast near the city of Melbourne. It was here that he developed a lasting awareness and appreciation of the potent landscapes that inspired him to pursue a career in art and design.
Bernard arrived in Northern California twenty-five years ago where he is the founding principal of Ground Studio a landscape architecture practice with studios in Monterey, Santa Barbara, and Napa.
Their designed landscapes are featured in a wide range of books, social media, and publications throughout the world including the New York Times, Vogue Living, Deezen, Garden Design, Gardens Illustrated, Dwell, and Architectural Digest. In the past ten years Ground Studio has produced two books published by Princeton Architectural Press, Landprints (2013) and Bernard Trainor: Ground Studio Landscapes (2019), both monographs solely devoted to the their work.
Bernard combines his art and design in a studio, deep within his own personal garden, this dynamic experience has a significant effect on his creative life. He approaches his art and design through a very personal lens, interpreting wild and built landscapes into abstracted forms on large canvas and board. The art is exploring the lasting images he has ‘absorbed’ living on the edge of the Australian and Californian coastline; these experiences have formed a distinct point of view.
This simple observation and a keen awareness of the regional context inform all my pursuits. This is my inspiration, place-driven art and design.
I have discovered my fascination is with distinct patterns on the land formed by natural occurrences in that particular place – I dig into the authenticity and truth behind this repository of meaning. Working in these dry climates I see distinct seasonality that provides ‘fertile’ conditions to accentuate these landscape patterns.
Working in any medium that will express my viewpoint, my approach is to interpret and abstractly represent layers of memories and interactions with landscapes where I have lived for the past 50 years. These interactions can be personal, overwhelming, lasting, fleeting, fulfilling, and above all else, humbling.
Each experience affects me in completely different ways, largely dependent on my attitude in that particular moment – What am I bringing to this particular place and what am I taking away?
Rather than any futile attempts at replicating what I have seen and what I felt, my abstract art is based on layers of memory, instinctively un-earthing pattern, texture, and form.
My intention is to explore my art in this way, searching for clarity, expressing what is absolutely essential.
Layered with distinct character
The curious beaten surface
Soil and Skin are temporary
Dust and Shedding bark
A trace of thick white zinc
Landscape change is swift – by day – by
season – by year
It is beautiful and harsh – some days…
Stay and look again tomorrow – Have you seen my backlight?
Light – is everything
I am harshly soft, intense, and perfectly parched
It is a gift to see things through a broad lens
Landscape, seek to understand its pattern language
Through these patterns I unearth a repository of meaning
These landprints are evident by their given circumstances
I see graphic rhythm created by local forces
Mans contributions overlay our indigenous landscape
The weaving together of these opposing forces can be both beautiful or overwhelmingly jarring
I have seen beautiful things happen when nature grows back over a bitumen covered schoolyard, an abandoned factory, or a crack in the sidewalk
In my own garden the most strikingly beautiful moments were partly planned
Plants are resilient – An opportunist adapts and finds a way
I am California Series
I am Robust and Bold
See me – Celebrate the truth I am
Come in but honor my ranges of being
Take your time, be curious
Do you see me? (For what I am)
The manufactured world we live within carries a cast of colors, forms, and textures
They are often diametrically opposed to the characteristics I see in natural landscapes
I find this appealing in contrast
The tension between these observations allow me to celebrate the stark differences in my art