Rebecca Bird Grigsby - home

My first solo show of paintings in 2003, mostly paper, acrylic, and oil on canvas, largely autobiographical in nature, was inspired in part by Brigitte Rouan's film outremer. Researching the film, about three sisters in post-colonial French Algeria, I came across phrases that became titles for the nearly 20 paintings that would make up this body of work, phrases like "beyond the mother," the literal translation of the modified title for the show, outre-mère, "geographical displacement," and "objects of childhood desire." Juxtaposing this serendipitously found text with intensely personal imagery, I used representation and surface abstraction to explore the mother-daughter relationship, and the cycle of loss, memory, and desire. In Paraphrasing Myself, I began to work more directly on paper, the imagery derived directly from finished paintings in outre-mère. In short, I was copying myself. During graduate school, I moved away from both this imagery/subject matter and way of working, interested instead in creating more interactive installations using both print, primarily photography and screenprinting, and digital mediums. As a culmination of this transition, my thesis project was, in short, about the fragmentation, dislocation, and replication of the Parthenon, including the physical site of the ruins in Athens, the debate surrounding the Elgin Marbles housed in the British Museum in London, and the full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee. The project represented an effort to investigate the idea of place in addition to the relationship between an original and its copy, further exploring the notion of artifice and our desire for authenticity. With my most recent project, Heavenly, a group of a dozen mixed media, mostly two-dimensional works on paper, with various three-dimensional components, I return to childhood photographs and souvenirs as starting points. This project-in-process is much more concerned with photographs and objects as memory triggers and, through materials and methods of working, investigates the multiple implications of the title, while, drawing on both previous bodies of work, incorporating ideas around travel and place as explored in my thesis project.

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