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Olivia Bernard is a visual artist who has exhibited at galleries and museums in New York and New England, including the Smith College Museum of Art, the Rose Art Museum, the Bell Gallery at Brown University, the Currier Gallery of Art, the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, and the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center. She has also been a recipient of a Massachusetts Artists Fellowship. She received her BA in Art History from Brown University and her MFA in Sculpture from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and Tufts University, Boston, MA. She has taught sculpture at numerous colleges in the northeast including the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, M.I.T., and Amherst College. She divides her time between Western Massachusetts and New York City. Her practice includes sculpture, installation and drawing.

Solo, Two and Three Person Exhibitions

2012

Species and Underpinnings, (solo), Gallery A3, Amherst, MA

2011

Three Seeing, A.P.E. at Window, Northampton, MA

2008

New work, Amherst Art Alliance, Amherst, MA

2007

Thoughts and Notations, Amherst Art Alliance, Amherst, MA

2006

Hewitt Gallery of Art, Marymount Manhattan College, New York, New York

2005

MPG Contemporary, Boston, MA

2003

Hampden Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

2002

Collaborative Movement Installation, New York, NY

1996

Kunstforum Troadkastn, Kramsach, Tirol, Austria

 

Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA

1994

Arno Maris Gallery, Westfield State College, Westfield, MA

 

Eli Marsh Gallery, Amherst College, Amherst, MA

1992

The Space, Boston, MA (solo installation/two person show)

1989

Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA

1988

Gallery Eleven, Tufts University, Medford, MA

1985

Hillyer Gallery, Smith College, Northampton, MA

1984

Noel Butcher Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

1982

Pratt Gallery, Amherst, MA

Selected Group Exhibitions, Amherst, MA

2016

Take a Seat, University Museum of Contemporary Art, UMass, Amherst

2015

Microworks, APE, Northampton, MA

 

Twice As Good, Boston Sculptors Gallery, Boston, MA

 

The Book Show, Taber Gallery, Holyoke, MA

 

Across the River, Oxbow Gallery, Northampton, MA

 

Nothing Is Wasted, Amherst Art Alliance, Amherst, MA

2012

Amherst Biennial, Amherst, MA

 

In The Round, Victory Theater, Holyoke, MA

 

10th Anniversary Exhibition, Amherst Art Alliance, Amherst, MA

 

Group Exhibition, Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, MA Hidden in Plain View, Paper City Gallery, Holyoke, MA

2010

In-Dialogue, Amherst, MA

2009

A3 Shows Up at STCC, Springfield Tech. Community College, Springffield, MA

2008

Invitational, Northampton Center for the Arts, Northampton, MA

 

Who We Are, Barnes Gallery, Leverett, MA

 

Wrap it UP, University Gallery, University of Mass, Amherst, MA

 

Americaura, National Library of Camaroon, Camaroon, West Africa

2007

Americaura, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

 

Summer Sculpture Show, MPG Contemporary, Boston, MA

2006

Non-Objective Works on Paper, Nicholas F. Rizzo fine Arts, Inc. Chatham, NJ

 

RX Art Ball Auction, New York, New York

2005

Arts of the Valley Celebration Exhibition, Open Square, Holyoke, MA

 

In the ZONE, Bridget Moore, DC Moore Gallery, NYC, Juror, Brattleboro Museum And Art Center, Brattleboro, VT

 

In and Around Us, Bell Gallery, List Art Center, Brown University, Providence, RI

 

A3 Again, Northampton Center for the Arts, Northampton, MA

 

Three Views, Amherst Art Alliance, Amherst, MA

2003

International Sculpture Ctr Juried Exhibition, Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, N

 

Conversations: Four Sculptors, Gallery A, Amherst, MA

2002

New Members Show, Gallery A, Amherst, MA

2001

Dressed for Success, Canal Gallery, Holyoke, MA

1998

Group Exhibition, Canal Gallery, Holyoke, MA

1997

Recent Works of Building Artists, Canal Gallery, Holyoke, MA

1995

Six Artists, Nacul Gallery, Amherst, MA

 

Cast of Six, Lamont Gallery, Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH

 

Drawering Show, Springfield Technical College Springfield, MA

 

Bay State: Artists of the Pioneer Valley, Krasdale Foods Art Gallery, New York, NY

 

Nature/Culture, Nacul Art Gallery, Amherst, MA

1994

Sensitive Material, Arno Maris Gallery, Westfield State College, Westfield, MA

 

Inside Out, Starr Gallery, Newton, MA

1993

Cast of Seven, The Art Complex Museum, Duxbury, MA

1992

Contemporary Art from the Permanent Collection, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

 

Contemporary Sculpture at Chesterwood, Trevor Fairbrother, Juror, Chesterwood Museum, Stockbridge, MA

 

Distinct Voices, Joyce Kozloff, Juror, Federal Reserve Bank Gallery, Boston, MA

1991

Berkshire Art Association, Jock Reynolds, Juror, Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield MA

 

New Artists: The Gloria Wilcher Memorial Exhibition, Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester NH

1990

Body Works –– Points of Departure, Ethan Karp, Juror, Artworks Gallery, Hartford, CT

 

Faculty Exhibition, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

 

New England Women, Howardena Pindell, Juror, Northampton, MA

1989

Allusion/Dimension, The Lois Foster Exhibition of Boston Area Artists, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

 

Four Sculptors, The Space, Boston, MA

 

Inner Spaces, Robert Rohm, Juror, Hera Gallery, Wakefield, RI

1988

New Work, Bonnie Grad, Patricia Johnston, Nancy Stapen, Jurors, Winfisky Gallery, Salem State College, Salem, MA

 

Sculpture Annual, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

1987

Fort Point Channel Artists, Kathy Halbreich, Marge Jacobsen, John McNamara, Jurors, Federal Reserve Bank, Boston, MA

 

Sculpture Annual, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

1986

36/86 –– A Group Show, Wisteriahurst Museum, Holyoke, MA

1984

Local Color, New Faces, Summer Invitational, Clark Gallery, Lincoln, MA

 

Divine Vistas, Noel Butcher Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

1983

Berkshire Art Association 1983 Painting/Sculpture Exhibition, Patterson Sims, Juror, Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA

 

Review/Preview, Noel Butcher Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

1982

Summer Exhibition, Clark Gallery, Lincoln, MA

 

Young Artist Exhibition, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, MA

1981

Gallery Artists, Pratt Gallery, Amherst, MA

 

Group Exhibition, ZONE Gallery, Springfield, MA

1980

Combinations, Danforth Museum, Framingham, MA

 

Collage, Watson Gallery, Wheaton College, Norton, MA

Fellowships, Awards, Residencies

2010

Residency in Paper Making, Women’s Studio Workshop, Rosendale, NY

2006

Residency, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, Vermont

1992

Residency, Cummington Community of the Arts, Cummington, MA

1991

Massachusetts Artists Fellowship, Sculpture, Artists Foundation, Boston, MA

 

Nominated for Awards in the Visual Arts 11, Southeastern Center for

1990

Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC

1989

Merit Award, New England Women Exhibition, Northampton MA

1987

Massachusetts Arts Lottery Grant for Women’s Caucus for Art, Northampton, MA

1986

Sculpture Prize, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

 

Tobeleah Wechsler Annual Award in Drawing, Cheltenham Art Center, Philadelphia, PA

1985

Tuition Scholarship, Tufts University, Boston, MA

 

Semi-Finalist, Massachusetts Artist Fellowship Program, Boston, MA

1984

Massachusetts Arts Lottery Grant, South Deerfield, MA

1973

First Prize, Card Design Competition, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Education

 

M.F.A., Sculpture, Tufts University / School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

 

M.E.D. Lesley College Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA

 

B.F.A. Equivalency, Painting, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

 

B.A., Art History, Brown University, Providence, RI

 

Vermont Studio School, Johnson, VT

 

University of Massachusetts, Sculpture Department, Amherst, MA

 

Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore, MD

Teaching

2011

Artist Teacher, Vermont College of Fine Arts, Norwich, VT

2010-2011

Private Teaching, Leverett, MA

2008-2009

Artist/ Mentor, MFA in Visual Arts, AIB at Lesley University, Boston, MA

2007-2008

Artist/Lecturer, MFAWC Graduate Program, Mass College of Art, Boston, MA

2006

Outside Evaluator, Marlboro College, Marlboro, VT

2005

Senior Evaluator, Marlboro College, Marlboro, VT

2004

Visiting Artist, Julliard School, New York, New York

1995-04

Private Teaching and Mentoring

1998

Visiting Artist, Marlboro College, Marlboro, VT

1994

Visiting Assistant Professor of Art, Mt. Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA

 

Sculpture Faculty, Amherst College, Amherst, MA

 

Master of Fine Arts Artist/Teacher, Vermont College of Norwich, Montpelier, VT

1994-1995

Division III Committee Member, Hampshire College, Amherst MA

1993

Lecturer in Sculpture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA

1992

Winter Term Instructor, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA

1990-1991

Associate Instructor of Sculpture, Master of Fine Arts Candidate Advisor, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

1986-1987

Teaching Assistantship, Sculpture, with Mags Harries, School of the

 

Visiting Artist, Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA

 

Visiting Critic, Vermont Studio Colony, Johnson, VT

 

Adjunct Lecturer, Sculpture, Boston College, Newton, MA

 

Visiting Artist, Education Program, Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA

1988-89

Sculpture Faculty, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

1973

Teaching Assistantship, Painting, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Public Lectures

2015

Art Salon, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

2012

Hillside Salon, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

2011

Snow Farm, Williamsburg, MA

2007

Artists on Art, Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA

2003-2004

Salon Program, Gallery A3, Amherst, MA

2003

Hampden Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

2001

Guild Studio School, Northampton, MA

1999

Marlboro College, Marlboro, VT

1996

Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA

1994

Westfield State College, Westfield, MA

1993

Starr Gallery, Newton, MA

1992

The Space, Boston, MA

1989

Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA

 

Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MA

Bibliography

 

Creating Abstract Art: Ideas and Inspiration for Passionate Art-Making, Dean Nimmer Cincinnati: North Light Books, 2014, pp. 32, 33.102.

 

Review, Sandra Dias, The Republican, and Masslive.com, January 2013

 

Review/profile, Amherst Bulletin, Amherst, MA 2008

 

Review, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Northampton, MA, May 2007

 

Review, Boston Globe, by Cate McQuaid, July 2005

 

Review, Sculpture Magazine, July/August 2004

 

Review, Art New England, April, 2004

 

Review, Daily Hampshire Gazette, November 2003

 

Review, Springfield Sunday Republican, November, 2003

 

Review, Springfield Sunday Republican, February 2003

 

Review, Daily Hampshire Gazette, February 2003

 

Review, Springfield Sunday Republican, May 2002, Springfield, MA

 

Review, Greenfield Recorder, May 2002, Greenfield, MA

 

Critics Tip, Boston Globe, February 1996, Boston, MA

 

Preview, Daily Hampshire Gazette, January 1996, Northampton, MA

 

Review, Springfield Sunday Republican, February 1996, Springfield, MA

 

Interview, Smith College Museum Newsletter, Winter 1996, Northampton, MA

 

Review, Art New England, June 1996, Waltham, MA

 

Review, Springfield Sunday Republican, November 1994, Springfield, MA

 

Review, Daily Hampshire Gazette, November 1994, Northampton, MA

 

Review, Springfield Sunday Republican, March 1994, Springfield, MA

 

“Inside/out,” Exhibition Catalog, Starr Gallery, September 1993, Newton, MA

 

Review, Springfield Sunday Republican, September 1993, Springfield, MA

 

Review, Springfield Sunday Republican, September 1992, Springfield, MA

 

Review, Springfield Sunday Republican, August 1992, Springfield, MA

 

“Contemporary Sculpture at Chesterwood,” Exhibition Catalog, 1992, Stockbridge, MA

 

Review, Art New England, August 1992, Waltham, MA

 

Review, Art New England, February 1992, Waltham, MA

 

“New Artists 1991,” Exhibition Catalog, The Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH

 

Arts Watch, Valley Advocate, September 1991, Hatfield, MA

 

“1991 Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture,” Exhibition Catalog, Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA

 

Review, Springfield Sunday Republican, September 1991, Springfield, MA

 

“At the Rose Art Museum: The Art of Our Time,” Brandeis Review, Winter 1990

 

“Allusion/Dimension,” Exhibition Catalog, 1989, Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MA

 

Review, Boston Sunday Globe, December 1989, Boston, MA

 

Review, Boston Herald, November 1989, Boston, MA

 

Review, Art New England, July 1989, Waltham, MA

 

Review, Springfield Sunday Republican, June 1989, Springfield, MA

 

This Way Daybreak Comes: Women’s Values and the Future by A. Cheatham and M. C. Powell, New Society Publishers, 1986

 

Interview, Charlene Koh, WFCR FM Radio, May 1985, Amherst, MA

 

Review, Springfield Sunday Republican, May 1985, Springfield, MA

 

Review, Philadelphia Enquirer, April 1984, Philadelphia, PA

 

Review, Art New England, June 1982, Waltham, MA

 

Review, Springfield Sunday Republican, May 1982, Springfield, MA

 

Exhibition Catalog, Watson Gallery, Wheaton College, February 1980, Norton, MA

Private Collections

 

Nan Niederlander, Leverett, MA

 

Sheron Rupp, Haydenville, MA

 

Beverly Floyd, Zurich, Switzerland

 

Mr. and Mrs. George Katz Jr., Brookline MA

 

Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Osherson, Cambridge MA

 

Dr. R. G. Monroe, Westwood MA

 

Paul Hertz and Jamie Rauchman, New York, New York

 

Alois Schild and Brigitte Meunier, Kramsach, Austria

 

Michael Geiger, Kramsach, Austria

 

Amy Lippman, Atty., New York, NY

 

Peggy and Nick Kaufman, Newton, MA

 

Dr. Patricia Everett, Amherst, MA

 

Timothy Rivinus, M.D, Providence, RI

 

Anne Ellsworth, Cambridge, MA

 

Larry Smith and Anne Mochon, Amherst, MA

Public Collections

 

Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham MA

 

William F. Smith, Jr. A.I.D., Philadelphia PA

 

Shaun F. O’Malley, CPA, Philadelphia PA

 

Edward Friedman, Atty, Springfield, MA

Untitled (with Stairs), 1990

hydrocal, wood, wire, pigment, hay

30" x 24" x 35"

Recent life events–personal, as well as the immense number of troubling world events–have led me to focus on the intangible issues of presence, absence, loss, and death. The work also raises questions of what is real and touchable, what is ungraspable or evanescent. Sheer papers, sewn, stretched, perforated, pinned; skeletal constructions, dipped repeatedly in baths of pulp; plaster stupa-like forms embedded with glass, rusty wires and rods hung with cloth and paper, all emerge as signifiers for this subject matter.

I have been exploring these issues in several series simultaneously: small drawings on mylar; wall pieces with wax and handmade paper and thread on glass sheets; sheer handmade paper pieces embedded with threads and tissue; and installations which use these elements in an accumulated form. In addition, I am revisiting forms from earlier work, such as long wood poles, and solid plaster forms, to rethink their relationship to my
current work process.

This variety of forms enables me to examine the extremes of life’s
continuum from dense corporality to utter fragility. I move from the
sculpture, whose physical presence is solid, fleshy, volumetric, and
gravity bound, to the drawing images, which portray ambiguous forms
both solid and translucent, to the paper, so thin and delicate that it is
barely there. The experience of these works together conveys varying
degrees of presence, absence, rupture, mending, becoming and
disappearing.

Art New England

April/May 2004

Olivia Bernard: Descent and Flight: Terra Incognita 2003

by Gabrielle Senza

Click to download a PDF of the review

On a visceral level, her work captures the dualities of death and life, sorrow and joy, bondage and freedom. …a feeling of subjected consciousness, wavering between the ephemeral dreamlike meanderings of the mind and the physical limitations of reality.


Sculpture Magazine

July/August 2004

Hampden Gallery/UMASS Amherst

by Marty Carlock

Click to download a PDF of the review

On a visceral level, her work captures the dualities of death and life, sorrow and joy, bondage and freedom. …a feeling of subjected consciousness, wavering between the ephemeral dreamlike meanderings of the mind and the physical limitations of reality.


Smith College

June/July 1996

Essential Forms and Migrations

by Gloria Russell

Bernard inquires into the nature of, and the connections among, all living things, the spiritual component that underscores the life force. This installation inspires both pleasure and anxiety: transitions from light to darkness are as compelling as they are frightening; familiar forms captivate and confuse; its sandy path both guides and troubles us.


Boston Globe

1996

Bernard shows new sculpture

by Nancy Stapen

Olivia Bernard, a gifted sculptor who divides her time between Northampton and New York, is showing a new installation, through March 17, at the Smith College Museum of Art. Inspired by a hiking trip in the Swiss Alps,‘Essential Forms and Migrations’ is an enigmatic, intriguing work that suggests emotional as well as physical transition. It carries the, visitor through a dimly lit space mapped by architectural plaster and wire divisions, punctuated by abstract objects. Bernard’s mysterious forms conjure nature, as with a large ovoid shape composed of a continuous swathe of white paper knotted around a hidden core, reminiscent of an egg, seed or pod. The work’s blue, black and white palette evokes a frosty mountain environment, with scattered’ pools suggesting the glacier basin.


Art New England, The Currier Gallery of Art

1992

The 3rd Gloria Wllcher Memorial Exhibition

by Joni Doherty

Curator Michael Komanecky has selected artists currently living in New England whose accomplishments deserve the attention of a wider audience creating an impressive exhibition of primarily large-scale works.  Olivia Bernard Wilson’s powerful sculptures depict violence, grief, and decay. In Keening, wire, wood. rhoplex, cheesecloth, Hydrocal, and pigment are transformed into a post-industrial wraith. The dark, bulky, hollow form appears to be caught, mid-air, in a ritualistic flight of mourning.

Another untitled work [untitled, “Containment II”], constructed of similar materials but filled with sand and straw and hanging heavily on a wooden frame, conjures up a beheaded and disintegrating animal in an abandoned slaughterhouse or gallows. The influence oi Louise Bourgeois is apparent in these sculptures-unattractive but alluring forms exploring messy human conditions and emotions.


Boston Globe

1989

“The physicality of sculpture, its potential for extremes of fragility and weight, is a means for examining (complex) experiences.” (Olivia Bernard Wilson)

Wilson’s four monumental pieces suggest hammocks, banners or litters, and her “Burden Bearer” involves ‘sagging billows of torn and pigmented cheesecloth where the layering of the material, the play of gravity, the contrast of the shapeless against the strict angles of the supports, explore the possibilities of complex tactile sensations.


Sunday Republican, Springfield, MA

June, 1989

Olivia Wilson has returned to the local scene from three years studying and teaching in Boston. As a result, her sculpture has changed in many ways. Mainly she seems interested in process as ‘much as in imagery.

“I’m always juggling those elements…thinking about how important is the original image I have in my head and how it transforms itself along the way.. .What happens along the way, and how do I incorporate that?” .

She uses plaster as her material, poured into and hardened over cloth. And her persistent theme is the relationship between the object and the support it requires during construction.

Plaster-covered poles suggesting those necessary in the actual transporting of “Transitional Bier” are components of the work. Not only do they recall part of the practical process of working on the piece, they also change the image from a body-like, container form. They imply “more about something being carried or borne.” They connote the process of change and transition.

In a monumental piece titled “Keening,” the armature has a spikey, aggressive quality which is in actual visual tension with the organic volumes of the plaster form. Without doubt the subliminal content here touches on issues of war and grief.

Through her creative procedure, Wilson engages in an internal dialogue in which she muses about social, political and art problems of our time. But paramount at the outset are issues of esthetic form. As Wilson says, “So much of (what happens to me is subconscious… I often set myself a formal problem… How long can I make this and have it still stand up, for instance, and it’s through that structure that the more emotional part comes through. I often don’t know what it really is about until it’s done.”

And the objects have any number of references. They assume all manner of allusions from nature, skin or bodies or landscapes. But first and foremost, the plaster, forms are containers, vessels that interact with space and with the imagination.

Plaster and lathing are fragile and impermanent materials; they suggest human vulnerability as well as mutability. And with the eventual form of the object dependent to some extent on gravity or atmospheric conditions, factors of process, the ambiguous forms imply “forces… beyond our control.”


Art New England

1989

The Space/Boston Four Sculptors

by Catherine Mayes

The stiffened fabric, large scale, and uneasy feel of Olivia Bernard Wilson’s forms bring to mind the work of Magdalena Abakanowicz, high praise indeed. Fishnet knotted to an overhead pipe dredges up From the Silence, a sinister dark shape about the size of a body bag. Rest is more or lees coffin shaped, sewn up like a flour bag, with a one-bag bump where we’d expect “head,” and, sure enough, a double-bag arrangement at the other end; all is coated with lumpy ochre colors like mud from a western grave. In the untitled work, fabric furled like a banner is hung from a lodgepole, its bellied folds stiff as if pregnant; deep in this womb, are scraps of straw scattered like a mouse nest, an articulating and effective detail. (Marty Carlock)

An ironic curatorial sensibility places these savage beings next to Olivia Bernard Wilson’s large hay structure. Wilson shares with Wales a view of nature calculated to make one uneasy. In In(e)Volution, this is achieved by making the structure larger than human scale and by placing small, membranous panels of latex into the installation wall. Revealed slowly on one’s journey through the maze, the panels resemble flayed flesh or insect pupae. At one entrance, it is surprising to discover that what one took for a gnaried branch is actually a large snake.

To this viewer, this installation seems more optimistic than Road Ruminant. It is a richly evocative work that casts nature in the role of muse and repository of human memory.