The Art in Nature program provides a vital platform for artistic experimentation and curious exploration that becomes a part of the entire ecosystem of Bernheim, and inspiring our deep connections with nature, providing visitors with a sense of discovery. Arts in Nature programs include the Artist in Residence Program, Sited @ Bernheim, Local Use by Local Artists and CONNECT. In addition, many of the sculptures in the arboretum are from the Artist in Residence program, begun in 1980. Individuals have generously donated other sculptures over the years of operation.
Patrick Dougherty’s environmentally friendly sculpture alludes to the myths of snakes and labyrinths. The primitive building material and method was utilized as the artist created this engaging sculptural installation. Dougherty, with the aid of over 50 volunteers, created this piece over a three-week period in April of 2012. Constructed solely out of willow saplings, the weaving of branches creates an effortless effect as if the form has grown naturally within its setting. It will last two years before being chipped up and returned to the earth. This project was funded by a generous private donation. It is the first Sited@Bernheim project. These projects will occur periodically.
Russ Vogt, a former resident of Louisville, is painter and sculptor. His work can be characterized as demonstrating a passion for both material and process. Vogt’s Bernheim sculpture utilizes a rich palette of ceramic glazes that range from deep blues and greens to hot orange and reds. The forms are often whimsical and made of handmade mosaic tile shards that cover an underlying armature. The Bernheim piece, which serves as a playful greeting to visitors, was given as an anonymous donation.
3) Untitled by Jerry Bleem, 2002
Jerry Bleem is a painter and sculptor who teaches at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. His work transforms everyday discarded materials and creates organic forms through a time intensive process. This piece is a locally cast bronze of a form created by using thousands of common staples and discarded paper to create this shape. Bleem was an Artist in Residence in 2002.
Heike Endemann has three pieces at Bernheim. As one of the 2011 Artists in Residence, she utilized fallen logs, in a variety of species, and a chain saw to create these abstract, totemic sculptures. One is located in the Holly Pond, and the other two double-helix inspired forms are located inside and just in front of the entrance to the Education Center.
Ernest Shaw, New York painter and sculptor created this 3-piece sculpture in Cor-Ten steel. Nestled in the Holly Collection, this large, abstract sculpture forms three points of a triangle. Over the last four decades, Shaw produced a prolific body, exploring a variety of different mediums and techniques and challenging the fundamental concepts of balance, composition, gravity, compression and expansion. It was given as a generous donation by John and Mary Moss Greenebaum.
This elegant bronze statue of a woman with uplifted arms by world-renowned sculptor, George Grey Barnard, is mounted on a granite base at the gravesite of founder Isaac Wolfe Bernheim and his wife. The sculpture stands above a stone semi-circle and is flanked by granite pylons representing the Jewish and Christian religions. A nearby bronze plaque reads: “May light, the symbol of life and truth, illumine the paths of good citizenship and reason, and tolerance and fairness guide our relationship with our fellow men.” One of America’s most gifted and interesting sculptors, George Grey Barnard (1863-1938) studied in the US and abroad. He received numerous public commissions including the Pennsylvania State Capitol, a colossal project containing 32 figures. A 14-foot tall statue of Lincoln, created in 1917 at the commission of Charles P. Taft, stands in Lytle Park in downtown Cincinnati. A second casting of the Lincoln statue stands in Manchester, England (1919). A third one (1922) stands in Louisville, on the lawn of the Free Public Library. The statue, a gift given by Mr. and Mrs. Bernheim, was dedicated October 26, 1922.
This abstracted, organic form, carved in limestone was originally started in Louisville and finished on site by Bernheim’s first Artist in Residence in 1980. A renowned Kentucky sculptor, Fields was recognized internationally for his stone and wood abstract sculptures. The artist was responsible for mentoring a number of sculptors in stone – Don Lawler, Matt Weir, Mike Ratterman and Larry Beisler are among the young artists who studied with him.
This abstracted “blossom” form sculpture by Paul Fields was dedicated on November 16, 2003, in honor of the artist’s mother, and donated to Bernheim by the Fields family. It sits on the Lake Nevin Loop Trail just off the main drive into Bernheim.
The artist is a self-taught sculptor who discovered the three-dimensional process through paper sculpture. In 1991, she discovered stone carving and began to create wildlife and figurative works. She now produces limited edition bronzes as well as small and monumental-scale works in stone. Dr. Varley E. Wiedeman donated the sculpture in memory of ornithologist, fellow faculty member at U of L, and former Bernheim board member, Dr. Burt Monroe.
Located on Tablet Hill near the main entrance is a stanza from one of Pierson Merrill’s songs, Not Alone for Mighty Empire. It commemorates I.W. Bernheim’s love and respect for all humanity.
Located beside Lake Nevin near the Quiet Garden, this abstract red steel sculpture was commissioned by Al and Vicki Mattox as a memorial to their son. Its design includes universal joints that originally allowed it to be multi-positional, participatory and playful in nature. It now stands in a sedentary position and suggested forms are found by walking around it.
1998 Artist-in-Residence, Canadian, Karl Ciesluk, created numerous works of art throughout Bernheim. The pieces are scattered throughout the forest and arboretum to become delights of discovery as you explore Bernheim. Each piece is composed of small-mirrored squares, creating a glittering effect and reflection of its surrounding. Our Precious Forest is located on the left of the entrance in a berm of grass.