Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 Artist in Residence Program, a central aspect of its Arts in Nature program. There were a record 260 applications from 34 states and 34 countries, with 36 applicants from Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Selections were narrowed through a multi-tiered jurying process with Bernheim staff and an esteemed jury of local curators and art professionals. Awarded on an annual basis, selected artists use Bernheim as their inspiration, creating works that connect people with nature through the lens of art. Although each artist is varied in their approach to their art-making practice, all utilize aspects of nature as a primary reference in their work.
Anne Peabody’s multidisciplinary practice involves making correlations between the human condition and the natural world. She employs various organic and recycled materials, including wood, glass, and metal, to expand and evolve a body of landscape-based art that includes installation, performance, sculpture, drawing, and textiles.
Peabody has been researching the history of Kentucky overshot coverlets and how Appalachian weavers created designs using natural dyes to pass down family history and lore. She plans to work with the Little Loomhouse, Berea College, and independent area weavers to incorporate some of these patterns and techniques into her work. Peabody will explore the forest at all times of day and night and use those discoveries to create installations and weaving patterns specific to the forest.
Peabody has been commissioned to make monumental site-specific installations for numerous architects. Her work is held in permanent public collections in the U.S., Europe, Russia, and the Middle East, including 21c Museums, BP, DIOR and The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. Her work has been critically reviewed in The New York Times, Art News, Art in America, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Glass Quarterly, and Hyperallergic, among others.
Laura Poulette is a drawer and painter from Berea KY who creates geographical and botanical studies inspired by the incredible diversity of the Appalachian region. Final works resemble large insect or specimen display cases as each element included is cut and mounted slightly off the surface of the background paper once they are painted.
Poulette plans to document the plants and trees of Bernheim seasonally throughout the botanical year and create large scale drawings and paintings that could possibly be reproduced and installed in the forest.
Poulette has shown her work at many juried exhibits throughout the region and has received awards and grants from Penland School of Craft, the Kentucky Arts Council, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and most recently a 2021 Artist Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women to write, illustrate and produce an artful nature journal. Her work has also been published in Root & Star and Taproot magazines.
Norman Spencer is a self-taught printmaker from Louisville, KY, specializing in custom woodcuts and linocuts with subjects that mainly consist of ideas around community, nature, and identity.
Spencer plans to create a series of linocut prints celebrating Black people enjoying the Bernheim wilderness, in order to increase representation and inspire Black people to explore the natural world. Images will feature scenes from various natural landmarks found in Bernheim. Spencer has an exhibition slated at Garner Narrative in downtown Louisville this winter that features Black people in the Kentucky wilderness, and will include images made at Bernheim with those from other natural landmarks in Kentucky including Cumberland Falls, Mammoth Cave, Natural Bridge, and more.
Spencer has actively been showing his work extensively throughout the region for the past 5 years including Light and Shadow, the inaugural solo show at Sheherazade Gallery, multiple showings at Revelry Gallery and most recently in the Black Since I was Born exhibition at Roots 101 Museum in Louisville.
Stay tuned to learn more about each artist and their personal experiences as Bernheim Artists in Residence! Updates during their stay will include unique ways for the public to interact with the artists and their creative process. Thank you to the artists who submitted applications. We appreciate the opportunity to learn more about your vision and view your work!
2020 marked the 40th anniversary of Bernheim’s Artist in Residence program and the value that art adds to the natural environment. Established in 1980, this internationally renowned program annually awards artists the opportunity to live and create site-specific work inspired by their total immersion experience at Bernheim. As we enter into our 41st year of the program, we will continue to celebrate the contributions of a program that has allowed our visitors to experience nature in a new way while enhancing awareness of Bernheim’s mission of connecting people with nature.