Bill Bernsen – Found Object Art & Assemblages

Art Girl

By Kimberly J.B. Smith
Contributing Writer

A few months ago, I made a visit to the home gallery of Bill Bernsen. You can’t miss it – sculptures indoors and out. A plethora of repurposed metals – sometimes somewhat representational and others more ethereal. There is much to see and I can assure you that something will speak to you.

1,2,3 Infinity. Metal Assemblage by Bill Bernsen.
1,2,3 Infinity. Metal Assemblage by Bill Bernsen.

Bernsen’s home is an old railroad freight depot building. At the time of purchase, the 1849 building was abandoned, had no heat or electricity and was missing many windows. Restoring the building was his first creation. In the words of Kevin Costner’s character in Field of Dreams, Bernsen believed that, “if he built it, they would come.” He has been in the business of art in this spot for 35 years now.
What you will see are a lot of metal constructions that vary between visually kinetic (or at times truly kinetic) and others demonstrating a more formal balance. The most amazing thing that I learned about Bill’s process is that there is absolutely no welding involved in his sculptures!
Other pieces are made of wood sections, sometimes round and often worn. Paint is applied on these reliefs, in a subtle and understated tones. Due to the life expectancy of wood, there is an entire gallery of relief artworks on display, indoors.
Bernsen’s philosophy includes the idea of connecting with the masters of one’s profession. If you relate to an artist in a big way, the spirit of that artist can work through you as a conduit. Some artists that Bernsen spoke of were Louise Nevelson and David Smith. Most recently, inspired by Giacometti’s recent sales at auction, Bernsen was inspired to create “Pan Pointing” and “Jack – o – metti.”
Bernsen has some connections at the nearby Plymouth State University too, and students have visited his gallery on sketching tours. His home/workplace is right off the main route and is very easy to find.
When you visit, be prepared to have an intellectual discussion about art and philosophy. Bernsen is a practitioner of Tai Chi. Sessions take place right in the gallery. Kandinsky, Tao Te Ching and other past and future inspirations fuel this artist. An intellectually challenging conversation is sure to ensue.
If you want a unique piece for the landscape of your home or business, Bernsen has so many options for your personal aesthetic. If your need is for a unique creation for indoors – either business or residence, Bernsen is prolific. Presently, he has about 55 collectors and you can become one too! Bernsen tells me that the July issue of NH Magazine will name his gallery as one of “Best in NH,” So add the Bernsen Gallery to your list of things to do. Located on 72 Depot Road in Ashland.

•My June 4th column on Pat Hodder had her email listed incorrectly it should be pmh.art.objects@gmail.com.

To see more on Kimberly J.B. Smith visit her site at www.kimberlyjbsmith.com