Record number of artists applied to program that uses Bernheim Forest as inspiration
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. A record 260 artists applied for the program. Applicants were from 34 states and 34 countries, with 36 applicants hailing from Kentucky and Southern Indiana. A multi-tiered jurying process comprised of Bernheim staff and an esteemed jury of local curators and art professionals narrowed the selections.
2020 marked the 40th anniversary of Bernheim’s Artist in Residence program which emphasizes 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, according to Jenny Zeller, Bernheim Arts in Nature Curator.
“As we enter into our 41st year of the program, we will continue to celebrate the contributions of artists that have allowed our visitors to experience nature and art in new ways while enhancing awareness of Bernheim’s mission of connecting people with nature,” Zeller said. “Although each artist is varied in their approach, all utilize aspects of nature as a primary reference in their work.”
In exchange for comfortable rustic housing, a $2,500 honorarium, access to studio space, and staff support for new work development, artists will create a site-inspired artwork, temporary installation, or project as a donation to the Bernheim Foundation. Recipients are asked to engage the public with their work and process, which may include (but are not limited to) demonstrations, workshops, lectures, and participation in one of Bernheim’s programs or annual events.
Meet the 2021 Artists in Residence:
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. As a Kentuckian now living in Brooklyn, NY, Peabody plans to 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. Her final works resemble large insect or specimen display cases. Each element included is cut and mounted slightly off the background paper’s surface 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, receiving 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 consisting of ideas around community, nature and identity.
Spencer plans to create a series of linocut prints celebrating Black people enjoying the Bernheim wilderness 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’s work has been shown throughout the region for the past five years, including Light and Shadow, the inaugural solo show at Sheherazade Gallery, Revelry Gallery and most recently in the Black Since I was Born exhibition at Roots 101 Museum in Louisville.