Edward Kerns, American (1945 - )

Edward Kerns

Ed Kerns (February 22, 1945) is an American abstract artist and educator. Kerns studied with the noted Abstract-Expressionist painter, Grace Hartigan and through the elder artist came to know and work with many artists of that generation including, Phillip Guston, Willem DeKooning, James Brooks, Ernest Briggs, Richard Diebenkorn and Sam Francis.

Born in 1945 in Richmond, Virginia, Kerns started painting at a young age. He attended the Richmond Professional Institute, receiving his BFA in 1967. He went on to the Maryland Institute, where he studied with painter Grace Hartigan. Here, Kerns received the Hoffberger Fellowship and graduated with an MFA in 1969.

Kerns first gained exposure in 1972, when he was commissioned by art collector Larry Aldrich to paint 100 paintings over the course of the year as gifts. That same year, Kerns had his first solo art show at the AM Sachs Gallery in New York. Over the course of the 1970s and 80s, Kerns formed a close partnership with the Rosa Esman Gallery and exhibited ten solo shows there.
Of his work in the late 1970s and early 80s, gallery coordinator Judith Stein says, “He works slowly, creating no more than ten large paintings a year. His media are acrylic, sand, and thread, the last used to stitch together sections of canvas. Often plywood or upsom board is used as support.”

Kerns began teaching in 1970, as an art teacher at the Bentley School in New York City. In 1972, he became head of the Art Department at the Baldwin School, and 1974, he headed the Art Department of Friends Seminary. In 1980, he left Friends Academy and moved to Easton, Pennsylvania, where he became the Head of Lafayette College’s Art Department. In 1988, he was selected to serve as the first Eugene H. Clapp II Professor of the Humanities at Lafayette College.

In 1989, Kerns collaborated with poet Lee Upton on a series of paintings. The series culminated in a show, A Collaboration of Poetry and Images, which was exhibited throughout Pennsylvania. Kerns has also collaborated with Rev. Ted Loder, illustrating four books written by the reverend.

In 2007, Kerns collaborated with artist Elizabeth Chapman on “Word, City, Mind: A Universal Resonance,” an exhibit that used "paint, text, collage, and image, the exhibit focuses on the resonance between neurological, cosmic, and man-made forms".

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