Monday, July 12, 2010

Kim Bernard: Artist Interview

Lynette (LH): Kim, can you share with my readers a little about yourself?
Kim: I just turned 45. I have 2 sons, 17 and 20. My husband is a painter and loves to sail. I love to dance. Right now, I’m taking an aerial dance course at UNH.

LH: Where did you grow up and what were the early influences on your work?
Kim: I grew up in Rochester, NH. I’d have to say my parents were my biggest influences. My dad was very handy, could build anything and not afraid to try something new. My parents were very capable in a cross gender sort of way. My dad learned to sew and knit from my mom. And my mom was never afraid to tackle a “man's” job herself. Both cooked and cleaned. Both were do-it-yourselfers, real task masters and both very physically active. They supported my creativity and never questioned it.

LH: Where do you live now?
Kim: Since 1988, I’ve lived in North Berwick, a small town in southern Maine with a population of about 4000, close to Boston, Portsmouth and Portland.

LH: Did you receive any formal art training? If yes, where and what did you major in?
Kim: In 1987 I graduated from Parsons School of Design with a BFA in Sculpture and just this May, 2010, I graduated from Massachusetts College of Art & Design, with my MFA in Sculpture.

LH: At what point in your life did you become interested in making art?
Kim: From my earliest memories… I just always remember making stuff. I was an only child and I think that’s how I amused myself.

Synergy 17
a kinetic sculpture installation made of encaustic, cable and steel

LH: Was there a certain point when you decided you were primarily an artist?
Kim: Yes, I felt like such a rebel. I was just about to return for my sophomore year at Parsons and had been planning on becoming an illustration major. When I returned I switched my major to fine art. I knew it was the less secure, more risky road to take, but I knew I wouldn’t be happy otherwise. When I finally made the switch, it felt so right.

LH: Can you describe bit about your work in general.
Kim: I have been focusing for the last 2+ years on merging my love of dance, yoga and movement with my studio practice.

Spiraling Inward
an ensemble of video, drawing and sculpture, is a record of a repetitive spiral process in 2-D, 3-D and time based media.  “Attaching the video camera to my hand, I took footage of me drawing large spirals on a page.  Varying the speed of the line, the camera pans the elliptical loops.  Though the hand cannot be seen, the fingers and the graphite can.”  Both the drawings and the coil sculptures are a record, or residual, of the process. 

LH: What is your media?
Kim: I work with a variety of mediums both 2 and 3 dimensionally. I allow the concept of a work to dictate my selection of materials and choose techniques that are in service to my ideas. That approach has led me to working with encaustic, ceramic, cement, steel, plaster, fabric, wood, iron, bronze, lead, and most recently, video.

LH: What is your current work about?
Kim: Right now all of my work has to do with movement. My last exhibit investigated 2 particular types of movement, bounce and swing, OK 3, there was some falling in there, too.

LH: What is your workspace like?
Kim: I have a 19’x16’ winterized studio in our barn. In the summer, I spread out into the unheated part of the barn where I can have more space.

LH: Describe how you work in your studio. How do you get "in a groove" and what inspires you?
Kim: I find it best never to get out of the “groove”. In other words, I try to keep a flow. If I’m too long away from making art, I find it hard to get going again. I do like taking a break, especially after a finishing a big body of work, but I see this as a time to fill the well, reflect and regroup. I am inspired by kinesthetics, kinetics, physics, the laws of motion, flight and gravity. My recent sources of inspiration are the Museum of Science, Cirque de Soleil and Pilobolus.

Shirodara/Wax Pendulum, sculpture, cable, cast aluminum, wood panel, encaustic

LH: Do you ever get stuck with your work and how do you remedy this?
Kim: I journal and sketch and brainstorm. I ask myself what I am most curious about and what I most want to know, what I want to learn more about, experience and what I am afraid of. I read, look, research and do. That usually shakes up some ideas.

LH: Do you have particular habits that you think support your art practice?
Kim: Ashtanga yoga, walking and driving. My best thoughts come when I’m on the move.

LH: What are you reading right now?
Kim: I just today ordered Learning to Fly: Reflections on Fear, Trust, and the Joy of Letting Go by Sam Keen but before that, a lot of required reading for my masters degree: art theory, art history, etc.

LH: Do you have other jobs other than making art?
Kim: I teach, but I don’t consider that a job because I enjoy it. I teach out of my studio in the summer, MECA, Plymouth State University and all over as a visiting artist.

LH: Where would you like to be in 5 years as far as your art making? Oooo, tuff question! I’ll be 50. Kim: That’s a mid-life I figure. I hope then I can climb the aerial fabric without using my feet and do a handstand by then. No seriously, I hope technology allows me to use body sensor networks so I can just move, collect the data from my movement and my art will be made with that data without my getting my hands all dirty. They have the technology at MIT already. Or maybe, like Janine Antoni, I could collect my brain wave data while I sleep and use that to make art. I at least hope I’m doing something art-wise that I haven’t thought of yet.

LH: Do you have any upcoming shows that you'd like to mention?
Kim: Arden Gallery in Boston in September, Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, CT in December, TSKW in Key West in January.

To see more of Kim's work, visit:
Thank-you, Kim!


Suzanne DesRosiers said...

Great interview! Thanks!

Kathleen said...

That was very enjoyable. Thanks Lynette and Kim.

Joanne Mattera said...

I love learning new things about someone I know. Thanks for this interview, Lynette.

Nancy Natale said...

Thank you Kim and Lynette. Very fun! Who knew our leader was such a mover and shaker!