Locks Gallery will exhibit a new series of small-scale paintings by the Philadelphia artist Neysa Grassi, from March 1 through April 6, 2002. Twelve new paintings will be shown with a series of gouaches on paper, made during a 2001 residency in the west of Ireland. The paintings grew directly out of these intimate paintings on paper.
Grassi is known for her brooding, intricate abstractions. The paintings’ surfaces are mark-embedded with traces of where the artist drags paint with a palette knife and in the process creates ridges and channels. These new paintings are reminiscent of her predecessors William Blake, Albert Pinkham Ryder, and Soutine.
Grassi’s paintings with their smoky molten colors, glow from within. The work invites meditation and repeat the artist’s own inward-looking approach. As art historian John Markowitz describes it, “each mark serves as an echo of that solitary activity, in which Grassi reaches no final conclusions, but rather pursues a continuing diary or journal of intense immersion into her work.”
These paintings continue her fascination with repeating, twisted lines. They suggest Celtic knots, wisps of smoke, or Leonardo’s drawing of floods. The new paintings, have grown more atmospheric and are, as the artists puts it, "about the primary elements." Fire, water, air and their effects are seen.