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    Entries by Nina Rossi (67)


    "Slice of Humanity" opens at Nina's Nook February 1

    TURNERS FALLS — “Slice of Humanity” at Nina’s Nook in Turners Falls presents the work of five artists capturing the human figure using paints, brushes, markers, pens and mixed media collage: Robert Bent, Suzanne Conway, Lauren Paradise, Jeff Wrench, and gallery owner/artist Nina Rossi. A wide variety of figural work is represented, each artist working their inimitable style to fill the walls of the Valley’s smallest gallery.

    Robert Bent of Greenfield paints using a loose brush stroke, sometimes incorporating pastels and charcoal into impressionistic paintings that retain a certain lovely openness about them. Bent explains,  “For the most part I take my work in a representational trajectory running along an expressionist/modernist/abstract spectrum. I like to consider my painting and drawing as aiming for non-fictional expression, revealing my decisions about mark-making and my multiple responses to the chosen subjects. I recognize that there are certainly fictional (abstracted) components in individual pieces.” He intends for these explorations, responses and perceptions  to “reveal the questions and tensions flowing from that process.” Mostly self-taught and with several stints in art school, Bent believes that “painting records, in a form of visual poetry, the practitioners placement in the world, in community, in what is recognized as reality. Putting color and line on canvas becomes a form of verse with each painter’s dialect revealing the artist’s development and the experience of knowing.” 

    Suzanne Conway of  Colrain is a humor illustrator, and her drawings are notable for the expressive lines. “I have always had ‘twitchy’ hands,” she explains, “with an insatiable desire to draw humans, usually humans in motion, at rest, thinking, dancing, playing, bumping around in crowds.” 

    Although she studied International Relations at Mt. Holyoke College,  and received a Masters in Education at UMass Amherst,  “my passion for Art always drowned out any drive towards any ‘high-powered career’…  My college notebooks were always littered with human torsos, breasts, expressions, legs, etc.   Later on, as I paid my bills working in law office cubicles, I continued to ‘spit out’ humans in motion on post-notes, message pads, etc. throughout the years.” 

    Growing up in a boisterous family of 11, she became an illustrator at the young age of three and has sought to master the art of cartooning ever since. Her keen eye captures the personality of each subject and the general mood of everyday scenes with loving detail.

    Lauren Paradise lived in the Valley for fifteen years and although she is now living on a mill pond in the Midwest, she maintains her many ties to Western Mass. She grew up in Rome, Italy and was taken to many concerts, galleries, museums, operas as her family traveled all over the world. She attended art schools in London, England and Urbino, Italy and studied under Malio Guberti Helfrich, a family friend. She draws inspiration from the work of  Bonnard, Matisse, Utrillo, Beckmann and Vladimir Naiditch. 

    Says Lauren, “I cannot imagine life without painting. I hope that people fall a bit in love with my made up characters and scenes of life as I see it.” Her small scale paintings are populated by people doing ordinary things—sitting in cafes, waiting by phones, waitressing, singing on stage, drinking coffee, laughing with friends. She uses expressive dry brush outlines and blocks of color to make up her compositions, which are reminiscent of story boards for a worldly writer such as Collette. 

    Jeff Wrench is a relative new-comer to the Valley, moving to Northampton from Connecticut last summer. He is a experimental musician (or noisician) under the name Brutum Fulmen as well as a painter. Says Wrench, “I like to examine the things we see every day, which are often taken for granted and may have a beauty that is overlooked. This includes making paintings of average (non-celebrity) people, and the incorporation of found materials such as paint chips and wallpaper samples. Likewise, I draw attention to the paint itself by using heavy brush strokes and colors that may not necessarily conform to reality. These techniques and the use of ‘ready-made’ surfaces create opportunities for serendipity.” 

    He points out that people are most interested in other humans as subject matter, and seeks to capture the shared human experience. His music parallels his attention to the ordinary and the found by composing with “noises of ordinary objects which make sounds that are usually only ignored.” 

    Nina Rossi is exhibiting her geometric interpretations of the figure in several drawings, sculpture and mixed media constructions.  The unusual divisions represented by her pen create an architectural blueprint that also somehow remains faithful to the character of the subject. In addition to the abstract figure studies, Rossi presents expressive line drawings depicting local people working their jobs: fixing motorcycles and snowblowers, working at the DPW, the bank, farms, restaurants, stores, and other mundane  scenes.  A handful of acrylic portraits done on cardboard pizza rounds depict locals who used the Millers Falls laundromat during a week in August. 

    Gallery hours are: Thursday, Friday, Saturday from noon until 5 p.m. or by appointment: 413-834-8800. Nina’s Nook is located at 125A Avenue A in Turners Falls, next to the Black Cow Burger Bar. The “Slice of Humanity” exhibit will run from February 1 through March 31. Visit online at

     Untitled by RObert Bent

    Portrait on a paint chip by Jeff Wrench

    Acrobats by Suzanne Conway

     Evening Walk by Lauren Paradise


    Figure drwaing by Nina Rossi



    Here I am in front of the tiny storefront of my shop on Avenue A in Turners Falls yesterday. I've got a full complement of items inside that are totally unnecessary, but will bring joy to your home or enhance your appearance: jewelry to add sparkle to your eyes, incense to sweeten the air, gartden slugs to hug or chuckle at, inventive clocks and carved wooden utensils for your kitchen as well as my famous "Pot holders", and divers art for the joy of color and form in your environment. COme by Thursday through Saturdays before Christmas from noon to 6 and check it out! 


    What's Next at Nina's Nook?

    The change in the seasons brings with it a feeling of change churning within. The need to make new work, to reach into materials and commune directly with fabric, brush, paint, wood, metal, can't be pushed off much longer. Performances have been done, and past, and now the desire to create more durable items is strong.I will be sharing my process in "live studio" at the Nook! Stop by and visit the Maker. Wityh the closing of my back yard,I'll be burrowing deep into my personal stash of items to knock together creatures of my imagination while tending to my store. Such as it is! Visitors and shoppers welcome whenever the lights are on, as per usual. 


    "Imperfect People" Opens at Nook

    small carvings and prints by Theo Fadel

    7.5 Billion People Invited to Party in Five Foot Wide Gallery



    TURNERS FALLS, MA — The entire world has been invited to Nina’s Nook, operated by gallerista Nina Rossi in the village of Turners Falls, Massachusetts. Prints and small carvings by 0.001% famous artist Theo Fadel will be for sale through August 8.  The Nook is five feet wide.


    A life size doll enjoys the garden at Nina’s Nook. Courtesy of Nina Rossi.

    “There’s tonnes of space” said Tiny Dragon, a  2mm scale figurine previously featured in the Charlottean. Known as Tiny D, she is Fadel’s manager. “This used to be a hot peanut shack. It holds sixteen thousand and eight hundred short tons of peanuts. Off the top of my head, that’s twenty-four million a hundred ninety-two thousand individual naked peanuts, and change. That’s a lot of peanuts, so I don’t think it’s gonna be too crowded. I think even some walnuts could fit. I ain’t even included the alley garden out back which has no roof, so sky’s the limit. Seven and a half billion goes into sky’s-the-limit real easy because of the magic of outer space.”

    The Turners Falls fish ladder and dam. Photo courtesy of Nina Rossi.

    “I love Turners Falls” added Redbird, a celebrity holiday ornament from Holyoke, Massachusetts who is also managed by Tiny D. “Just yesterday I went swimming with friends in the fish ladder, and tomorrow we’re going over the falls in twelve ounce coffee cups. It’s just grand!”

    The Louvre Grand Gallery, Hubert Robert, 1796.


    Nina’s Nook is a true gallery. Architecturally speaking it is half room, half hallway and belongs to the same building typology as the Guggenheim Museum in New York City as well as the Grande Gallerie of the Louvre in Paris, France. The Nook, like the Louvre, transforms an old corridor into brilliant exhibition space.

    The interior of Nina’s Nook

    Indeed, the Nook gallery was a twentieth century alley shoppe selling roasted peanuts. Later it was the bottle depository of a candy store. Comparably, the Louvre was a twelfth century fortress. It later served as an art laden palace and artistes’ dormitory before its conversion during the French Revolution to a public exhibitorium. Details and timelines of both buildings are available on their websites.

    “Nina Rossi has done something immeasurably special with this alleyway. She’s an artist and poet herself” commented Redbird. “Up here, near the Vermont border, the Connecticut River is not so wide as when it reaches the Atlantic Ocean.”

    “Speaking of which,” interrupted Tiny D, “did you know that back in the day Rossi operated a fish winch on the P-town docks?”

    Redbird, courtesy Tiny Dragon Enterprises.

    “I did” continued Redbird, “and the reason why is that the wine-dark sea is everywhere available to whomever will brave it.”

    Nina’s Nook is located at 125A, Avenue A in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. The hours are here.  The mini show of work by Theo Fadel, imperfect people, runs from July 1 through August 8. The entire world is invited to a reception July 8, 4 to 7pm. The Gallerie is closed July 4.



    The Time Tunnel Opens at Nina's Nook Through June 

    Adrian Montegano of Wendell has a way to transform vintage knick knacks and kitchen items into amusing time pieces. He just completed installing over two hundred of these unique clocks on the walls of the Nook in downtown TUrners Falls MA. I have shelves full of toasters and coffee pots, samovars and lunchboxes that tick away merrily and wave their little hands. THe walls are full of pie plates, platters, graters, strainers, decorative tins, boxes, rat traps,hubcaps and other things. It sounds like thousands of insects are munching away in here.