Tough Life Diary
For over five decades Nancy Grossman has created a powerful body of work that combines exquisite craftsmanship with a long-standing exploration of the nature of violence and power, which is presented in this retrospective publication.
Nancy Grossman’s work continually returns to the human body and the charged relationships that make up our world. She began as a painter in the late 1950s, working in a style that combined the energy of Abstract Expressionism with figuration. In the mid-1960s, she began incorporating found leather and metal parts into chaotic and explosive wall reliefs. Coming of age in the 1960s, Grossman was painfully aware of the condescending environment in which she and many women artists worked. Soon she began carving lifelike human heads and covering them with black leather — a body of work she continued to create until the early 1990s. Frequently described as disturbing, these images »blew conventional images of femininity to smithereens«, as critic Holland Cotter noted. Alongside her three-dimensional art, Grossman has consistently produced masterful drawings and revealing collages that give presence to emotional and physical struggle. This retrospective volume surveys all aspects of her independent and inspiring career.
Ian Berry is Associate Director and The Susan Rabinowitz Malloy Curator of The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College.