Security Envelopes

Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope Grid, CCP, Tuscon, 1993

Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope Grid, CCP, Tuscon, 1993

Since the late nineteenth century, the technical capability of photography to accurately describe and convincingly distort the visual world has exponentially increased. It is only now, with widespread media literacy, that the distortion side of the photographic equation has gained popular acceptance. However, the art of photography has long played against the public’s deep-seated documentary expectation, converting the truth of appearances to the insight of expression: a unique intermingling of reality’s aspect and its interpretation. 

Cindy Bernard, Installation view, Security Envelope Grid (1-75), Whitney Biennial, 1989

Cindy Bernard, Installation view, Security Envelope Grid (1-75), Whitney Biennial, 1989

Cindy Bernard’s watershed work, Security Envelope Grid, is about the nature of proof, that is, what we take for granted as being true or necessary, and on what grounds. She uses a compelling trident of belief systems: photography, art and commerce, brought together through the use of a most unexpected source. The designs that line security envelopes to protect their financial or confidential contents from inspection are recast into 8×10 inch black and white photograph enlargements hung in a 9 x 35 foot grid of 100 images. This installation work interferes with assumptions of truth, depicting the financial sub-strata of society and culture as a standardized net of abstract patterns and familiar signs. Sophisticated and convincingly simple, Security Envelope Grid is an inescapable but never culpable arrangement that holds its secrets with the perfunctory formality of the envelopes from which it evolved. – Trudy Wilner Stack, from Document Enclosed, 1993

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A completed set of 100 images was posted to my instagram feed a few months back.

 

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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: Merrill Lynch #1, 1987
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: Hinckley & Schmitt Co. of California, 1993
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: Federal Express, 1992
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: New Age Publishing Company, 1989
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: Art Sales Japan, 1989
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: Walt Disney World Co., 1989
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: ARte COntemporaneo, 1989
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: Fidelity USA, 1989
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: Gibraltar Savings; Real Estate Loan Office, 1989
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Inc., 1988
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: Shell Oil Company, 1988
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: Wells Fargo Bank #1, 1988
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: McDonnell Douglas, 1988
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, 1988
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1988
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: Ericson/Ziegler, 1988
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: Par Avion; Per Luchtpost; By Air Mail, 1987
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: Untitled #4, 1987
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: Untitled #3, 1987
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: Internal Revenue Service, 1987
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: Museum of Modern Art, 1987
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Cindy Bernard, Security Envelope: Security Envelope: Mrs. Prina, 1987