Eli Bornstein

About the Artist

Eli Bornstein was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1922. His formal training as an artist began in 1941 when he attended the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1945. In 1951 and 1952 he spent his summer breaks studying in Paris, first at the Academie Montmartre of Fernand Leger and later at the Academie Julian. He travelled throughout Europe during 1957 and was inspired by the  contemporaryCurrent, belonging to the same period of time. Usually referring to our present time, but can refer to being current with any specified time. (Artlex.com)  art he encountered, as well as bt the works of European Masters.

Bornstein’s teaching career began in 1943 at the Milwaukee School of Art (Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design) where he taught until 1947. In 1949 he accepted a position at the University of Wisconsin where he taught until 1950 when he accepted the position of Head of the Art Department at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where he taught drawing, painting, sculpture, design, and graphics. He served as Head of the Art Department for twenty-one years and following that concentrated on his teaching until his retirement in 1990. His forty-year teaching career at the University of Saskatchewan positioned him in a creative environment and allowed him the freedom to follow his own course as an artist.

Dr. Bornstein is best known for the three-dimensional structurist  reliefsA type of sculpture in which forms projects from a background. There are three degrees or types of relief: high, low, and sunken. In high relief, the forms stand far out from the background. In low relief (best known as bas-relief), they are shallow. In sunken relief, also called hollow or intaglio; the backgrounds are not cut back and the points in highest relief are level with the original surface of the material being carved. (Artlex.com)  which explore the interaction of forms and colours in  spaceSpace can be the area around, within or between images or elements. Space can be created on a two-dimensional surface by using such techniques as overlapping, object size, placement, colour intensity and value, detail and diagonal lines.  and light.  His trademark  mediumAny material and technique used to produce a work of art (paint, glass, clay, fibre, video, sound, etc.). It may also refer to the liquid with which powdered pigments are mixed to make paint. Note that the plural form of “medium” is “media.”  is a synthesis of  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  and sculpture. His previous drawings, painting, prints and sculptures used impressionist, cubist and  abstractImagery which departs from representational accuracy, to a variable range of possible degrees. Abstract artists select and then exaggerate or simplify the forms suggested by the world around them.  (Artlex.com)  techniques.  His work reflects his interests in both natural and built environments.

Bornstein is known for his large public works, including Tree of Knowledge, a 15-foot high aluminium construction for the Saskatchewan Teacher's Federation.  His commissions include Structurist  ReliefA type of sculpture in which forms projects from a background. There are three degrees or types of relief: high, low, and sunken. In high relief, the forms stand far out from the background. In low relief (best known as bas-relief), they are shallow. In sunken relief, also called hollow or intaglio; the backgrounds are not cut back and the points in highest relief are level with the original surface of the material being carved. (Artlex.com)  in Fifteen Parts, an  abstractImagery which departs from representational accuracy, to a variable range of possible degrees. Abstract artists select and then exaggerate or simplify the forms suggested by the world around them.  (Artlex.com)  construction for the Winnipeg Airport; a four-part vertical construction for Regina's Wascana Centre AuthorityHexaplane Structurist  ReliefA type of sculpture in which forms projects from a background. There are three degrees or types of relief: high, low, and sunken. In high relief, the forms stand far out from the background. In low relief (best known as bas-relief), they are shallow. In sunken relief, also called hollow or intaglio; the backgrounds are not cut back and the points in highest relief are level with the original surface of the material being carved. (Artlex.com)  No. 3 for the Canadian Light Source building at the University of SaskatchewanHexaplane Structurist Construction No. 1 for Jacobs University Bremen, Germany;  and Hexaplane Structurist Construction No. 2 for the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg.

Bornstein is held in high regard in the Saskatoon art community for his art-making, teaching and writing. In 1964 he had the first one-man exhibition at the newly-opened Mendel Art Gallery. He is represented in numerous public and private collections.  They include the National Gallery of Canada, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, the Milwaukee Art Center, and the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, Quebec.  In 2007, an exhibit of 25 of Bornstein's works was presented by the Forum Gallery in New York.  His work has been shown in solo and group shows in Canada, the United States and Europe.

In 1960, Bornstein founded the international art journal The Structurist that is distributed in over 35 countries.  The Structurist deals with light, colour, space, transparency and structure in art and architecture and their relation to literature, music, science, technology and the environment.


Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning