Bernice Massé Rosenthal – A Retrospective

at the Burnett Gallery in the Jones Library

43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA 

April 2 through April 29 during library hours

Opening reception – April 2 from 2:00 to 4:30
Work by the late Bernice Massé Rosenthal over a span of five decades will be on exhibit with a focus on her wood assemblages and collage. As an inveterate recycler, she found objects that were discarded and presumed useless or offcuts from woodworking projects that became her assemblages. Whimsy is to be found along with the serious. Her approach to art was imaginative in concept, deliberate in process, skilled in technique and meticulous in execution. 
IMG_2264.jpegThe artist with American Gothic #1

In Memoriam

Bernice Massé Rosenthal
1938 – 2022

Bernice took leave of our world in January after a brief illness. She left sorrowful friends and family and a legacy of art. 

Trained as a nurse, she left her native western Massachusetts to be an R.N. in Boston. There she met a number of artists and found art to be her real calling. Bernice enrolled at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts majoring in stone sculpture and painting. She won a fifth year traveling fellowship that took her to Greece where there was plenty of stone for inspiration. 

She became a paper conservator and applied those skills to collage. Cast off wooden shapes, abandoned on the sidewalk or cutoffs from a boatshop, were fashioned into the wood assemblages for which she is known. Bernice’s body of work also includes a host of drawings, painting, weavings, stained glass and public art, much of which can be seen here. 

It is the intention of her family to maintain this website and assemble her work for show from time to time. Bernice’s creative legacy will be maintained and can be seen here. 

Reality is back!

Pandemic-wise, things are easing up a bit and live exhibitions are happening once again. I have had a few virtual exhibits, but they just don’t have any more to show than what you see here on my website. 

TD Bank in Amherst is a venue with a well-lit wall where artist’s works are shown for   one month periods. I have twelve wall sculptures on display for the month of October.

Something new: ValleyBike, in collaboration with Commonwealth Murals held a competition in the spring, “Valley Artist Expo”,  offering artists the opportunity to be displayed (the artist’s portrait with one art piece) on e-bike kiosks which are located all over the valley. Glitches along the way  delayed the project, but it is finally up and running. Eastman Lane at UMass and Kenefick Park in Springfield are my locations. Here I am with Cuneiform Calendar. 

And even though the Windows into Art in Amherst has officially ended after a three- month run, I continue my relationship with Mexlcalito and have switched sculptures in the restaurant’s front window. “Rocker Plant”, now with red chili pepper lights, is on view.

It is a thrill to have the virtual yield to reality!

Three Cheers for Live Art

What the pandemic has taught me about art and being an artist.

Most would agree that art is best experienced live, whether it is 3-dimensional or is visually tactile if 2-dimensional. On-line virtual exhibits leave much to be desired. This, however has attempted to keep artists and lovers of art connected during the fifteen months (depending how you count it) of pandemic lockdown. I appreciate the efforts that have gone into making it happen and I have participated in some of these locally. One was at the Burnett Gallery of the Jones Library in Amherst, MA and the other at the Gateway City Arts Gallery in Holyoke, MA. Unfortunately, there is little to no feedback on how these exhibits were received. Now that the constant threat of the pandemic has eased, I am feeling more hopeful for “live art” again.

I participated in the Windows Into Art in Amherst, which is exhibit space in commercial windows in the downtown for the summer months of June through August.  I have a tall sculpture “Enredadera” in the new Mexcalito restaurant. This was accompanied by an afternoon on the Amherst  Common, celebrating art and music. While there, I came to realize the importance of not only displaying “live art” but being able to share, in person, the ideas and the process that go into a piece. Art is now personalized and meaningful, not only for the viewer but for the artist.

Three cheers for reality art.

Virtual exhibitions ??

I had two exhibitions in December. Both were VIRTUAL. 

The first was was scheduled to be at the Burnett Gallery in Amherst’s Jones Library. Under pandemic circumstances it became a virtual show of my assemblages. The Burnett was where I had a 2-person show, “Act II, Scene I”, back in 2006 when I recommitted myself to art. It is a lovely space where my works showed well. Regrettably, a virtual exhibition can’t compare, especially when it come to sculpture that has 3-dimensional qualities. 

The second was a show at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke, Massachusetts. It was the Third Annual Small Works Exhibit, a virtual show with video opening statements by many of the artists represented. The works had to be small with modest prices. Mine was a “Tapa Assemblage”. I found Gateway City Arts to be a vibrant venue in a city on the mend with great natural and cultural possibilities. 

I am not a fan of virtual exhibitions – not yet. For sculpture, video offers a means of seeing a whole work. Photos are insufficient. Whatever there was to be seen at these two virtual exhibitions can also be seen here at my website. And lots more. Take a look around. 

It’s a NEW YEAR!

We have spent a couple of months repositioning our lives from Maine back to Amherst, Massachusetts . We are still not wholly settled in, but we are sorting things out, making them fit, or trying to decide what must go. Much of my work has been brought to Amherst, but some remains in our Maine house where out son’s family now dwells. We will be visiting in summertime. 

As we have reorganized our lives, we have had the presence and distraction of the pandemic, an election, a Georgia election and the waning days of Mr. Trump as president. And we have just seen the attempted coup and “coup de grace” of Trump himself. I have to refocus. 

Better days are coming. Daylight will be getting longer. The temperature will rise into spring and summer. I will be getting back to work. 

Happy New Year. 

Art news

What strange times we are living in – even in the art world.

I can buy bananas at 59 cents a pound, but if I tape it to a wall, it’s value goes up to $120,000 for a single banana. It’s buyers at Art Basel, Miami placed it in the category of Andy Warhol’s “Campbell‘s Soup Can”. Of course it needs to be changed every few days to preserve its freshness and color. I also wonder if the buyer actually ate that banana before replacing it.

However, for those who can’t make it to Miami’s annual festival, there is a DIY option. Try a banana which can be purchased for $3.19 at a craft store that guarantees non-perishability. Or expand your repertoire to include other fruits and vegetables. Duct tape now comes in terrific colors and designs.

But, if your taste in art leans to the more traditional, be assured that all of my works can be had for less than $120,000.

Art in Maine goes virtual

If you took all the artists on the Maine coast and inland and put them in one place, you would have a hotspot of art second to none. But here we are spread out without a centering geographical focus. Much of the art is in traditional categories which my husband categorizes as lobster boats and lighthouse, field and stream, and house and garden. But that would not be fair to the scores of artists who have cutting edge ideas, creativity, talent and exquisite skills.

That is why I was sad to see the Stable Gallery in Damariscotta closed for the season. It is a gallery that exhibits forty artists of all kinds – painters, potters, sculptors, weavers, fabric art, metal work, furniture makers during the summer and shoulder seasons. For about a decade, I exhibited my assemblages there as one of many featured artists. I hope that this is just a pandemic break and that the Stable Gallery will reopen in 2021 and show an eclectic variety of quality work that is rarely seen in one place along the Maine coast. Take a look at the Stable’s stable of artists.

Back in Maine

We’re back in Damariscotta. The trip up form Massachusetts was a breeze with little traffic on the roads. Now we are under a 14-day quarantine. That’s OK, because the weather is gorgeous. There is lots to do around the house and grounds. The grass is growing like mad. There’s a garden to plant; we will need it this year. There is time to get organized like never before. And I thinking about what to do with wooden pieces I have brought up from Amherst. There will be plenty of time to work on it.


Going to Maine

In just a week I will be relocating to our house in Damariscotta for the summer and fall.

This year things will be different. As of now, we will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. It makes sense because we will be coming from Massachusetts which is currently a hot spot, but Amherst where we live is in one of the least affected counties in the state. It’s suggested that we have fourteen days of food. Well, we have rice and dried beans for backup. I wonder what lobster prices will be like this year?

The usual venues for exhibiting art are questionable at this time. Governor Mills is relaxing the rules in all but two counties in southern Maine. I’ll see what unfolds.

Much of my work remains in Massachusetts where I have had my most recent shows. If you would like to see any of the pieces that are shown on my website, let me know and I will make sure to have them in Maine.

Be well, everyone!