August 31, 2016
The merging of science and art has existed, arguably, for centuries, with the Renaissance era, perhaps, marking the pinnacle of the fusion. One of the most widely recognized works of art around the world is, undoubtedly, the iconic ink drawing of the "Vitruvian Man" (circa 1490) by Leonardo da Vinci – a precise depiction of human bodily proportions, comprising superimposed sketches of a man’s body in 16 different combinations of outstretched limb positions.
The exploration of the science-art connection, long contemplated by mankind, will be the focus of accomplished artist Kim Bernard, M.F.A, who will, at the request of University of New England President Danielle Ripich, serve as an artist-in-residence at the UNE’s College of Arts and Sciences for fall semester.
Bernard, an instructor at the Maine College of Art, comes to UNE after serving as an artist-in-residence in the Physics Department of Harvard University last year. Her charge at UNE is to develop science-inspired works of art and to assist faculty and students who wish to integrate arts into their curriculum and studies, respectively. In addition to developing and teaching three interdisciplinary workshops on the topic of Collision of Arts and Sciences, Bernard will meet with various classes at UNE and will present a lecture that will be open to the public.
Bernard shared her views on the complementary nature of science and art. "Though there is much interconnectedness, at first glance art and science seem like a strange pairing," she admitted. "The differences make these two realms seem in complete opposition, yet art and science are both investigations into the nature of reality. Both have the ability to alter the way we see the world."
To enhance the integration of arts and sciences at UNE, Bernard says that she will use science-related visual imagery as a catalyst for creating art works, while engaging students and faculty in the creative process. That creative process, she says, goes hand-in-hand with the scientific process. "What [they] have in common is that they are both based in inquiry," she explained, "a sense of wonder of how the world works and a desire to try to make sense of it all. Both begin with asking a question, a deep curiosity, wonder and a willingness to go into unchartered territory."
Upon completion of the residency, Bernard will bestow one new work of art upon the university to become part of its permanent collection. A past work by Bernard, “Wave Phenomena,” previously adorned the ceiling of UNE’s Biddeford Campus Art Gallery in the Jack Ketchum Library.
Dean of UNE’s College of Arts and Sciences Jeanne Hey, Ph.D., shared her enthusiasm about Bernard’s residency. "I am thrilled to have Kim Bernard join us at UNE. Students will be working directly with a world-class artist, creating enduring works that will grace our campus and influence students' lives," she said. "The arts are a central component of a liberal arts education. We celebrate this special opportunity to bring an artist of Ms. Bernard's skill and reputation to our community."
Bernard shows her sculpture, installations and encaustic works nationally and has been invited to participate in many exhibits, some of which include the Portland Museum of Art, Currier Museum of Art, Fuller Craft Museum, Colby College Museum of Art, Art Complex Museum and the University of New Hampshire Museum of Art. Her work has been reviewed by the Boston Globe and Art News and has been featured in Art New England. Bernard is the recipient of the Piscataqua Region Artist Advancement Grant, a NEFA grant and several Maine Arts Commission grants. She received her B.F.A. from Parsons in 1987 and her M.F.A. from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2010.
Bernard’s first project will introduce students to the history, culture, chemistry, botany and biology of henna tattoos. Students may apply their own tattoo or ask Bernard to apply one for them. Friends may also tattoo one another. Bernard encourages students to choose symbolic designs that are personally meaningful. The event will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, September 6-8, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. as well as Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, September 13 to 15, from 9a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Ketchum Library Art Gallery.
Bernard will give an Artist Talk Tuesday, September 13 at noon in the Ketchum Library Art Gallery. Light lunch provided.