Myrel Chernick grew up in Metuchen, New Jersey, traveling to Paris for a year with her family at age nine. There she discovered culture, history, literature, art, food, beauty. This formative experience fueled her determination to leave the suburbs and live a different life.
Chernick’s fascination with language began with her experience of learning French with the facility of childhood, understanding that it was very different from the language she knew, and that language was connected to culture. She studied art, receiving her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago after having moved to New York to participate in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. Influenced by the conceptual art she saw around her, she sought to combine her love of literature and writing with light-filled installations. She began adding short phrases to her installations in 1977, influenced by Marguerite Duras, her austere but sensuous language, and her focus on the spaces between the words.
Living in New York, Chernick has continued to work with projections and multimedia installations, single channel video and photography, while taking a detour to raise twins, curate two exhibitions on motherhood, edit The M Word: Real Mothers in Contemporary Art, and to expand her writing to include longer text/image works. She spends as much time in Paris as she possibly can, and is currently writing and illustrating a hybrid novel that takes place in her favorite city.