Island artist Bernica Wilcox gives us ‘The Gaze of a Woman’


Island artist Bernica Wilcox has a series of paintings featured at the Vineyard Haven library through April 2024. Titled “The Gaze of a Woman,” the artwork “focuses on femininity and nature,” and “embraces the ideas of creativity, passion, and independence,” Wilcox says in her artist’s statement.

The series, says Wilcox, “tells a story of a woman who falls in love with her soulmate at the wrong time. The lovers go through periods of affection and absent-mindedness, and eventually go their separate ways, leaving the woman to find her way back to herself.”

“I wanted to explore the different ways that women view their relationships, view love itself, and how they find themselves after falling out of love. It’s about going on a path of finding who you truly are, and discovering that you don’t need someone else to tell you to ‘love yourself,’” says the young artist.

Wilcox’s series is, in her way, a response to Valentine’s Day, with its focus on romantic love. “I wanted to follow that theme with a series about self-adoration. You don’t have to have a partner to celebrate love,” she says.

Her art story begins with several individual paintings of women that lead to a piece titled “The Princess and the Frog.” It shows a woman wading through a hidden stream in search of her prince, represented by a frog sitting atop a lily pad.

In the next piece, “Mi Amore,” the heroine and her new lover are embracing. In the final painting, the woman, shown from the neck down wearing a white shirt unbuttoned to reveal her semi-naked body, enjoys a glass of red wine alone. “Self-Adoration” its title.

Wilcox is a relative newcomer to the Vineyard. She moved here from Gloucester two years ago, and started following her lifelong passion for art.

“I moved here straight after COVID,” she says. “I wanted to experience a different kind of life, and explore different kinds of work and my various skills.”

Along with her painting, Wilcox has experimented with a number of approaches to art. Through her line “B. Refined,” she sells jewelry, hand-painted boxes and bags, stickers, magnets, and linocuts, which she uses to create bags and T shirts. Perhaps her most unique offering is a line of hand-painted jeans.

“I was inspired by my dad,” she says of the latter. “He would paint on jeans and jackets. I like the idea of creating an experience you can wear.”

Wilcox has shown her work at the Galaxy Gallery, the Oak Bluffs library, and at the Featherstone Center for the Arts. In the summer she sets up a display of her work at Island festivals, flea markets, and pop-ups.

On her Shopify store, she offers a range of items, including her original artwork. “I have some collections that are more psychedelic, and some are nature-themed,” says Wilcox. “I’m also a photographer, and some of my work is based on my photos.” Much of the work springs from her interior life. “Most of the time I get my inspiration from my dreams,” she says. “My dreams tend to be very vibrant. I keep a dream journal.”

As Wilcox notes on her website, her creations “represent freedom from reality, using a mix of surrealism and psychedelia.”

“The Gaze of a Woman,” artwork by Bernica Wilcox, will hang at the Vineyard Haven library through April. The library seeks artists who would like to have their work at “Art in the Stacks.” Go to or call 508-696-4211 to find out more. You can find Wilcox’s work on Shopify at