Photo of Antonietta Grassi.


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, analog technology 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. The 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.  Her work is in public, corporate, and private collections, including the Musée National des Beaux-arts du Québec, Global Affairs Canada, the Archives of Ontario, Museo Civico Di Molise, Groupe Desjardins, the Stewart Hall Museum in Pointe Claire,   the Boston Public Library and  Yamana Gold. Grassi has participated in several residencies such as the Studios at Mass MoCA, the Banff Centre for the Arts and the Vermont Studio Centre. 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. Grassi holds a BFA from Concordia University and an MFA from the Université du Québec à Montréal. She is represented by the Patrick Mikhail Gallery in Montreal.

Artist Statement

I  paint distorted geometric forms in a nuanced and layered color palette as a  way to explore color, shape , light and line and how they inform our notions of objects, space and memory. Perhaps no memory being stronger than that associated with one’s childhood home, my paintings reflect  objects and spaces that have been shaped by these memories. Having lost both of my parents within a short time frame, I 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 hollowed cubes, skewed geometric translucent shapes  and threadlike lines that connect them all . What was once a home was transformed into a disembodied shell and what was left behind were obsolete objects with no use other than as vessels of  memories.   My work delves into how  memories of the past produce fleeting blueprints for structuring the present, and how a delicate stability is attained through the language and solidity of color, shape and light.

Recent paintings explore notions of  obsolescence and  references textile production and weaving and its connection to data processing and analog technology.  Obsolescence as a form of loss  captivates me, given that loss of relevance is not limited to objects due to technological advancement , but  encompasses everything we ignore and discard in our present society.

Antonietta Grassi