Photo of Antonietta Grassi.


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Antonietta Grassi’s work speaks to multiple histories, textiles, the pioneering role of women in technology  and the lineage of abstraction. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Quebec.

Antonietta Grassi’s work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions at museums and galleries in Canada, the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Her work is in public, corporate, and private collections, including the Musée National des Beaux-arts du Québec, Museée d’arts contemporains de Baie- Saint -Paul, Groupe Desjardins, BLG, Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian Embassies in Dubai and in Tunisia, Conseil des Arts et lettres du Québec,  Archives of Ontario,  Yamana Gold, Stewart Hall Art Gallery,  Capital One (MIT), the Boston Public Library and the Museo MAACK (Kalenarte).

Grassi has participated in several residencies such as the Studios at Mass MoCA, the Banff Centre for the Arts,  the Vermont Studio Centre,  Centre SAGAMIE, International Symposium of Contemporary Art at Baie- Saint -Paul, the Ragdale Foundation (IL, USA) and the International Studio and Curatorial Program in Brooklyn in New York.

She holds a BFA from Concordia University and an MFA from the Université du Québec à Montréal. Grassi lives and works in Montreal where she is  a professor in the Visual Arts Faculty at Dawson College.

See full  biography on Wikipedia.


Photo: Portrait of Antonietta Grassi by Emma Hason Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


About the work

The machine and its history are common themes in Grassi’s paintings. But while acknowledging the sad fate of discarded parts, these machines are anything but disheart­ening. They are gloriously bright, autonomous beings that seem to be very much alive. It is not simply their form, but also the inner workings of their operating systems that speak to Grassi. Inspiration comes from women mathematicians and computer scientists like Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper. The Jacquard loom, one of the earliest computer systems, also makes its way into Grassi’s practice. Not only do many of her machines resemble its form, but it also provides a link to her roots. Grassi’s mother and aunts worked in the gar­ment industry, and she herself worked as a textile designer. The recurrent threads in her paintings seem to hold these influences and memories together at the seams.

Antonietta Grassi’s use of colour and the grid speak to the works of women artists from the canon of twentieth­ century modernist abstraction-another coding system  in its own right: Helen Frankenthaler and Agnes Martin can be glimpsed underneath the multicoloured horizontal lines. Like Eva Hesse, she adds her own personal touch to a see­mingly impersonal subject by imbuing the machine with life and feeling. Her approach to painting is both intuitive and intentional, charged with memory, but also mathematically and technically precise. And there is always an expression of hope and connection, despite the age in which we happen to find ourselves .

Text by Amanda Beattie (excerpt from an article on Grassi’s work in Revue Esse , 2021)