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Fine Art PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Rhoda Rosenberg: The Shape of Memory at the Danforth Museum

The Danforth Museum of Art presents Rhoda Rosenberg: The Shape of Memory on view through February 6, 2011.

The 17 prints and 2 artist books displayed in the exhibition Rhoda Rosenberg: The Shape of Memory are structured around a dialogue between the opposing linear patterns of spiraling lines and knotted cords, predominant elements in Rosenberg’s work for more than 5 years. In her seminal piece, Dear Mom, Love Rhoda (2004), Rosenerg creates a literally coiling artist’s book that contains daily notes written to her mother in the year after her mother died. Inspired in part by her readings of feminist literature, Rosenberg’s prints transfer her recollection of meaningful objects to gestural line. Considering Simone de Beauvoir’s journal documenting her own mother’s death from cancer, Rosenberg gives visual expression to the French writer’s words describing “her straw bag, filled with balls of wool and an unfinished piece of knitting…her scissors, her thimble…” Rosenberg understands the emotional power of things. Symbolizing mother’s life with images tangled or untangled yarn, the blouses or dresses no longer worn, she references absence in an expressive series of prints that are truly reliquaries for loss.

Rhoda Rosenberg, Tightly Bound, 2008 soft and hard ground etching 15″ x 22.5″ Courtesy of the Artist

While influenced by the feminist movement of the 1970’s, Rosenberg moves beyond a search for an essentially feminist aesthetic. While acknowledging Rosenberg’s debt to such writers as de Beauvoir, Millet, Friedan and Steinem, art historian Pam Allara finds the artist’s interest in gestural line as central to recent work. Rosenberg’s coiled shapes imply motion, and “are often considered a symbol of growth.” While “avoiding the confessional or self absorbed,” Allara states that Rosenberg’s prints bring “deeply internalized emotions to the surface. Her recent vocabulary of coils and spirals, knots and cords, addresses the binary growth and regression, change and stagnation that characterize relationships over time.”
About the Artist

Born in Philadelphia, PA in 1944, artist Rhoda Rosenberg received a certificate in painting and drawing from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1966, and then a BFA in printmaking from the Fine Arts Department at Temple University in 1976. She later received an MFA in printmaking from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, where she began teaching after graduation in 1982. Rosenberg has also taught at the Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA and at Artist Proof Studio in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Rosenberg’s Russian Jewish family has been influential to her work, particularly her father Samuel, a butcher, her mother Sylvia, and her elder brother Nate. Rosenberg’s maternal grandmother Rebecca, “Bubbie,” also lived with the family, and childhood home was often filled with relatives. Although her mother’s family was musical, Rosenberg decided at a young age that she was committed to visual art. Her family supported her choice—Rosenberg’s first collage Rosenberg made at age seven was kept by her mother and still preserved in the family archives. Close family ties formed during childhood have been the subject of the Rosenberg’s work for the past decade and will likely continue to inspire her in the future.

In 1979 Rosenberg was a Finalist in Printmaking for a Massachusetts Council on the Arts Grant. In 2003, she was recognized for outstanding teaching with School of the Museum of Fine Art’s Russel T. Smith Award, and has received a SMFA’s Faculty Enrichment Grant for her work in South Africa. In 2005 she received a grant from the Artist Resource Trust Grant at the Berkshire Taconic Foundation, and an Atlantic Papers Materials Award at Boston Printmakers North American Print Biennial in 2007.

Despite a demanding teaching schedule, Rosenberg has exhibited prints and artist’s books in numerous shows every year since 1979. Recent one-person exhibits include “Rhoda Rosenberg: Fragments of the Past,” Hallspace Gallery, Dorchester, MA (2010); “New Work,” Artist Proof Gallery, Johannesburg, (2008); “On Their Own,” The Art Complex Museum, Duxbury, MA (2004); and “Recent Work: Etchings and Books,” Emmanuel College, Boston (1993).

A master printmaker, Rosenberg owns and operates the Merrimac Printmaking Studio out of her home in Merrimac, MA.

Curated by Pamela Allara and Catherine Mayes.

Danforth Museum of Art
123 Union Avenue
Framingham, MA 01702-8291

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