Press Release

Locks Gallery is pleased to present Foreign Language, a solo exhibition surveying works on paper by Neysa Grassi. A reception for the artist will be held on Thursday, April 2, 2015 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

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.

These delicate and energetic works flirt with the provisional in painting but more importantly highlight Grassi’s exploration of her own intuition. Known for forms that defy expectations of abstraction, her works simultaneously embrace and shun pattern and skirt around the edges of representation. Each piece evokes its own sense of both the familiar and the unknown, not unlike hearing a foreign dialect for the first time.

As poet and critic Susan Stewart wrote of her work in 2011, “What do you see when you look at a painting by Neysa Grassi? Colors for which you have no name, certainly. You may as well have the sensation of looking deep into an alchemist’s pot, or of floating far above the work as you look down on the patchwork of a landscape.”

This exhibition anticipates a forthcoming publication and traveling exhibition, the first to survey Neysa Grassi’s works on paper. The second iteration of Foreign Language will be on view at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art from June 27 through November 8, 2015.

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