The Hippo


Dec 13, 2019








Kim Bernard and one of her pieces from her “Hydrogen Atomic Orbitals” series. Courtesy photo.

See “Objects in Motion: Survey of Work by Kim Bernard”

Where: Southern New Hampshire University’s McIninch Art Gallery, 2500 N. River Road, Manchester, Robert Frost Hall
When: On view through Dec. 18; reception Thursday, Nov. 20, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday 5 to 8 p.m., closed Sundays, during university vacations, between shows and during the summer
Contact:, 629-4622,

Art that moves
SNHU visiting artist explores physics in art

By Kelly Sennott

Movement is a pretty significant part of Maine artist Kim Bernard’s life.

In fact, she’d just returned from a yoga class at the time of an interview about her upcoming Southern New Hampshire University art show, on view now through Dec. 18. From yoga and dancing to martial arts, it seemed for a long time that Bernard’s passions were bipolar.
“About eight years ago, I started questioning why I had two separate passions in my life and why there weren’t combined in any way,” Bernard said. “There was studio artwork, and then there was movement. So I made a very deliberate effort to bring those two things together so they would be one.”
The result has catapulted her interests into something she didn’t expect: science. Her show at SNHU, “Objects in Motion: Survey of Work by Kim Bernard,” wouldn’t be out of place at the SEE Science Center down the street. 
All the sculptures and art on display explore movement, either literally (they’re kinetic) or representationally. 
A collection of wall art, “Hydrogen Atomic Orbitals,” is made of arrangements of thousands of 1-inch-diameter black and red ceramic balls. They’re clustered in petal-, flower- and mandala-like patterns and hang from gallery walls. They’re meant to represent tangible ways to visualize quantum mechanics.
Others, like “Tertium Quid #1-3,” are motorized. Standing still, they appear to be round images stacked with circular shapes. When they move, they become three-dimensional, and it’s as though you’re getting a birds-eye view from the top of a Dr. Seuss mountain. “Readymade Color Wheel” looks like a bicycle wheel with attached rainbow balls and explores perpetual motion (which doesn’t exist) and color mixing, and “Wave Phenomena” is comprised of six panels inspired by sound vibrations as seen from the book Cymatics by Hans Jenny.
The exhibit, Bernard admits, is “very sciency.” Bernard has shown in numerous museums and galleries, which locally includes the Currier Museum of Art and the UNH Museum of Art. She earned the 2011 Piscataqua Region Artist Advancement Grant and currently teaches at Maine College of Art and Plymouth State University.
But this work is a stretch from what she used to make — such a stretch that she’s been invited to be an artist in residence at the Harvard physics department for January and February. Her sculptures have also decorated the Fuller Craft Museum, and she’s recently been invited to provide an installation at the Discovery Museums in Acton, Mass.
“Because I’ve been doing a lot of work that involves physics, it’s put me in contact with scientists who’ve really been teachers for me, in an informal way,” Bernard said. “That’s been exciting and fun and new.”
Especially because, before she began this journey, this integration of art and movement, the most she knew about physics was what she learned in her 10th-grade science class.
“It kind of came in through the back door,” Bernard said. “It’s not like I studied it [physics] in college. I came about it through genuine interest. … I also like the fact that when people look at my work, they can either come in with an appreciation of art and then learn something about physics as a result, or people who are comfortable with physics can leave with the appreciation of it being an art piece.”
It may seem to outsiders that this new focus has limited Bernard’s artwork. The way she sees it, it’s given her more focus, which has enabled her to channel different kinds of creativity and interests.
“It’s about how the universe works — the big questions, and how our world functions,” Bernard said. “This was a very deliberate decision to make the work an exploration of something I’m very passionate and curious about.” 
As seen in the November 20, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

®2019 Hippo Press. site by wedu