Neysa Grassi: Foreign Language, 2015
Text by Jennie Hirsh
78 pages, Softcover
Published by Locks Publications / Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts
For over two decades Neysa Grassi has worked in gouache, ink, gum arabic, and graphite while traveling. Her abstract gestures, loops, and patterns are recognizably hers, a defining personal language. Yet each place she visited transformed elements of her painting with unique patterns, palettes, and touch. Foreign Language surveys Grassi's works on paper made in places including Ballycastle, Northern Ireland; Majocar, Spain; the coast of Maine; Florence, Italy; and here in Philadelphia. This publication accompanies a traveling exhibition at Locks Gallery, Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts and the Galleries at MICA with an essay by critic Jennie Hirsh. In the book, Hirsh notes, "Like works of lyric poetry, these paintings propose deep meditations on not only the natural world but also the ways in which it preoccupies, reveals, and embodies the human psyche and experience. In short, their production is a kind of translation, worked, and reworked, into new forms of visual poetry reminiscent of old and familiar impulses, reactions, and predicaments articulated in Grassi's signature language, replete with its own textures, finishes, and hues that contribute to two-dimensional artworks that insist, first and foremost, on their own corporeality as articulated in the rhetoric of the sublime."