Personal profile

Research interests

Bernadette Kerrigan's work in painting can be described as quasi-abstract, meaning that it incorporates elements of abstraction while still retaining some connection to recognizable objects or concepts from everyday life. These paintings often evoke aspects of daily existence but do so in a way that leaves their implied meaning open to interpretation, creating a sense of ambiguity for the viewer.

One notable characteristic of Kerrigan's art is the presence of recurring motifs, which include cats, landscapes, circles, lines, lorries, blankets, and patterns. These motifs appear throughout her body of work and are interconnected, often shifting and transforming without being bound by specific parameters. This fluidity and interchangeability of motifs contribute to the overall sense of ambiguity in her art.

Kerrigan's artistic focus lies in exploring the intricate relationship between the human desire for meaning and the acceptance of the arbitrary. Her research area delves into various psychological and cognitive concepts such as misremembering, contradictory thoughts, cognitive dissonance, ambiguity, contradictions, and the interconnectedness of human communication. Her paintings reflect these themes, often presenting conflicting or contradictory elements within the same composition.

A key aspect of Kerrigan's artistic process involves the use of self-referential elements. She composes her paintings by layering and integrating fragments of investigative drawings and older paintings, which are then used to generate new images. This approach results in artworks that are not necessarily iconographic or representational but are more interested in exploring the structure and composition of the artwork itself. This emphasis on the formal aspects of her art contributes to the overall sense of ambiguity and complexity in her work.

Recent and forthcoming Exhibitions include:

2024, EJ Hauser, Bernadette Kerrigan, Chris Martin, Daniel Pettitt KARST, Plymouth. 2023, (forthcoming), Drawing Painting, Two person show, Bath School of Art

2021, Solo show - SCAN Projects, London, E2, 2021. Two person show – Palfrey Place, London, SW8, 2021. Recent Activity, Birmingham,

Two person show - Richard Hughes & Bernadette Kerrigan, ‘Colours that no-one knows the name of’

Dec 2018, Beep Painting Prize - 2018

2017, Paper Cuts, Kris Day -December 2017

“Pharmacy For Idiots” - Rob Tufnell @ Tanya Leighton Gallery, Cologne, Sept 2017.

Approach to teaching

Bernadette Kerrigan's background as a painter and her role as a Senior Lecturer in the Fine Art Painting Department at the University of Brighton since 2017 reflect a strong commitment to both her artistic practice and her teaching responsibilities.

Her practice-based research, which involves regular exhibitions, exhibition projects, and maintaining a rigorous studio activity, demonstrates her dedication to her craft. This active engagement with the art world and her own work keeps her in tune with the latest developments and trends in contemporary painting. This experience and knowledge gained over 30 years in the field are invaluable assets that she can share with her students.

One of the key strengths highlighted in her profile is her ability to initiate dialogues with leading contemporary painters. This not only enriches her own practice but also provides a valuable learning opportunity for her students. Engaging with established artists and art professionals can offer students unique insights into the art world and help them develop a broader perspective on their own work.

Overall, Bernadette Kerrigan's combination of a strong practice-based approach to painting, active involvement in exhibitions and projects, and her openness to dialogue with leading painters make her a valuable asset to the Fine Art Painting Department at the University of Brighton. Her wealth of experience and connections in the field can greatly benefit her students and contribute to the department's academic and artistic community.

Education/Academic qualification

Master, Painting, Royal College of Art

1 Sept 20151 Jun 2017

Award Date: 1 Jun 2017

Bachelor, BA Fine Art, Staffordshire University

1 Sept 19921 Jun 1995

Award Date: 1 Jul 1995


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