Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Art, Art History, and Design
Thomas Berding
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Berding.jpgAssociate Professor
316 Kresge Art Center
P 517-355-7621




Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Berding received a BA magna cum laude from Xavier University before going on to earn a MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Prior to his arrival at Michigan State University, he taught at Dartmouth College, Indiana University, and Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University). Additionally, he has served as a Visiting Artist/Critic at a number of institutions including the University of Washington, State University of New York- Buffalo, RISD, Alfred University, University of Louisville, University of Kentucky, Rochester Institute of Technology, DePauw, and the University of Dayton among others.

A practicing studio artist, Berding's paintings have been recognized with awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and the NEA/Mid America Arts Alliance. His works have been exhibited in numerous venues including David Klein Gallery (MI), the Nelson-Atkins Museum, (MO), Rochester Institute of Technology, (NY), the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, (IN), The School of Fine Arts Gallery, Indiana University, the New England School of Art and Design, (MA), The Rhode Island School of Design Museum, and the Evanston Art Center (IL).

Berding's essays on painting have also been published and he is a regular panel chair and presenter at the College Art Association, where he currently serves as a member of the Services to Artists Committee. In 2010, Berding was selected as a CIC-Academic Leadership Fellow by the Office of the Provost at Michigan State University.



Made in response to post-industrial landscape, these paintings draw upon the sense of refuse and the promise of refuge that urban centers and ports of commerce suggest. The network of city streets and built structures, serve as a stage on which more mercurial behaviors, fleeting notions, and unrequited longings play out.

When translated to the language of painting, I am enthralled by how the exoskeletal diagrams of plotters and planners and the traffic of more spontaneous and improvisational paint-handling inform each other. Invariably, the most memorable images that emerge seem to be those that suggest more than they describe, surfacing some image that lies buried just beneath our waking awareness. True to the layered and dense nature of my sources, it is in a hybrid space, somewhere between abstraction and figuration, that I find the most room for discovery to occur.

Ultimately it is my hope that, like the urban landscapes they ruminate on, the paintings teem with a sort of double consciousness, a prevailing sense of both, the future-present and the ever present-past.