About the Artist
Kim Bernadas works in both figure and portrait sculpture using a classical approach achieving an uncanny likeness to her subjects in her portraiture. In her figures, she uses gesture, proportion, and the uniqueness of each individual to express the essence of the subject. With a background as a physical therapist and a former ballet instructor, Kim has had a life long study in the dynamics of the human form. Her artistic training began at New Orleans Academy of Fine Art in 1991, where she presently teaches portrait and figurative sculpture. Additionally, Kim conducts Sculpture intensives at several locations in the Southeast throughout the year. Her professional career has included many public and private collections; most recently in 2021 and 2022, lifesize sculptures include Butterflies and Irises, and of St. Landry respectively. The installation depicting 4 of the 9 Greek Muses in bronze for the Jefferson Performing Arts Center represents a monumental work completed in 2017 . Other collections include the Dr. John Edmunds for Tulane Medical School, and James Elrod CEO for Willis Knight Healthcare System, Walter Dumas Bust for the Baton Rouge Community College, Ed McKee Plaque for Livingston Parish, Baby Pan for the Soniat Garden and The Lifesize Mother and Child for the Tulane Medical Center Maternity Pavillion. As of Fall 2011, “Birth of a Muse“, the first Post Katrina Public Art Commission for City of New Orleans, was installed as part of a revitalization project for the Coliseum Square Park. She was also featured in the New Orleans Magazine and named the 2005 WYES Artist of the Year, as well as an award winner in the 2004 National Drawing Exhibition in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has been recently elected to the prestigious Portrait Sculptors Society of the Americas, American Artists Professional League and WAOW – Women artists of the West, all very respected national artist organizations. She was elected to the distinguished Portrait Society of America in 2014, and her sculpture “Tasha” was awarded Honorable Mention for Sculpture in the 2014 PSA Membership Competition. In 2014, she created a life size bronze of Pastor Robert Blakes, Sr., a renowned prophet and religious leader. While in New Orleans City Park, her life size bronze of philanthropist Stanley W. Ray, Jr. can be viewed as part of the NOMA (New Orleans Museum of Art) Collection. Also widely acclaimed is her 2019 installation of Brother Martin Hernandez, placed at the Brother Martin High School Outdoor Mall. Kim Bernadas has dual residency in both New Orleans, Lousiana, and Silverhill, Alabama where she has studios and receives local and national commissions.
Although my dedication to sculpture has been, in the grand scale of all things, very brief, my obsession with the nature of the human form has been life long. About 25 years ago, I found myself looking to create movement and art once more and stumbled upon a sculpture class at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts. With that first piece of clay in my hands, I knew that I had found my new “high”, the ethereal connection back to the human figure. In all its beauty…young or old, fat or thin, I loved it all because it was all so eloquent, and, yet so mysterious. Later on through my studies, I learned about the golden section, the Fibonacci spiral and all the truly magical and natural things that relate the human figure to all the aspects of nature.
My influences have been many over these short years, but are forever timeless for all figurative sculptors, .. Michelangelo, Bernini, Rodin, Houdon, St. Gaudens, French.. but whom I really admire and can identify with is Malvina Hoffman, not just for her great works, but for her great courage as well. Once a student of Rodin’s, during the 1930’s she was asked by the Chicago Field Museum to gather anthropologic information with the use of her sculpture to dedicate the museum’s new wing, the Hall of Man. She traveled around the world, finding the “ideal type” for each region, and was to sculpt each person right on the spot. All within a 3 year timetable! Her portraits are so very expressive, and her figures are dynamic. They are truly an inspiration.
As with most figurative artists, we all want to bring a fresh approach to that age-old beauty – the nude. I sigh when I read many an art review that states that the nude is old hat, passé. What I believe, as well as any true artist who has a classically trained eye believes, is that the figure is forever new, and in communion with the beauty found in nature, each a mystery to be studied. My greatest goal and triumph is to capture my subject down to their inner core, get to all their strengths and weaknesses, wherever they happen to be in their life, and project this through my sculpture. Finally, I wish to hold true the meaning of the phrase “fine art”, and to pursue the thought that my work must continue to reach toward its worthiness of this title.
Portraits are my most challenging and rewarding works, and every one feels fresh, as though I am beginning for the first time. Presently, I am working on a new body of work that should be ready next year, as well as a couple of portraits and a figure for commission. My work can be seen in New Orleans at Academy Gallery, my website www.kimbernadas.com and is present in public and private collections throughout the country.