Antonietta Grassi has been committed to the practice of abstract painting for most of her career. Her paintings, which at first appear as hard-edged geometric abstractions, are composed of multi-layered, painted surfaces where the touch of the hand is paramount. Grassi paints layered, intuitively derived forms that are intersected by fine, thread-like lines—creating works where textile, architecture, and painting’s twentieth century history collide. Through her nuanced and layered palette, she explores color and light to create perceptual spaces that are drawn from memory and imagination. Grassi’s work is simultaneously mathematical and painterly, reflecting a process-driven approach that belies the organized compositions of the geometric forms prevalent in the works.
Antonietta Grassi’s paintings and works on paper have been featured in solo and group exhibitions at museums and galleries in Canada, the United States, and in Europe, including Muséé National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec; Museo Civico di Molise in Casacalende, Italy; Kunstwerk Calshutte in Budelsdorf, Germany; the Boston Center for the Arts, Vermont Institute of Contemporary Arts in Chester; Trestle Gallery and Crossing Art in New York; Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio; the Bruce Lurie Gallery in Los Angeles; the McClure Gallery , Lilian Rodriguez and the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery in Montreal, Newzones in Calgary, and Leo Kamen, Artcore and John B. Aird Gallery in Toronto. In addition, her work is in public, corporate, and private collections, including the Musée National des Beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ), the Archives of Ontario, Museo Civico Di Molise, the Boston Public Library, and Yamana Gold in Toronto, Canada. Grassi’s work was selected for two public art projects in Canada sponsored by Le Museé au Ciel Ouvert in St. Lambert and Showfrette in Beloeil, Quebec.
She is the recipient of awards and honours, including grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Quebec, her most recent being a Canada Council Project Grant in Visual Arts in 2017. She is represented by the Patrick Mikhail Gallery in Montreal.
Within a short time frame I lost both of my parents and was confronted with the task of emptying my childhood home of its possessions. The psychological and physical impact of facing this process led me to explore fragments of deconstructed and nonsensical space through shifting and shaky planes, and skewed geometric shapes. What was once a home was transformed into an unrecognizable, disembodied ghostly shell filled with a flurry of emotions, symbolizing acts of removing, dismantling, discarding, detaching, remembering, and forgetting. I tap into memories of spaces that are “unfolding”, and abandoned forms such as those of 20th century objects whose technology is obsolete. No longer used for their function, these objects leave us to simply contemplate their presence in our environment. The act of painting is a contemplative process and the object that emerges from that process forces us to view it deeply; something which is perhaps in itself precariously scarce and obsolete. Throughout my practice, I have questioned how emotional and psychological experiences of the past produce fleeting blueprints for structuring the present, and how delicate stability is attained through the solidity of color, shape and light.