November 8 - December 1, 2007
Artist Reception: Thursday, November 8, 6-8 pm
Diane Farris Gallery is proud to present Swagger, the new exhibition of work by Vancouver-based multimedia artist Angela Grossmann. In the paper works and vintage canvasses that form the Swagger series, Grossmann investigates the period between childhood and maturity and exposes the performative nature of adolescent boys.
Wielding boxing gloves and posing with bravado, Grossmann’s young men gaze at the viewer assuredly. Their soft features, wide eyes and mischievous grins belie their awkwardness. Grossmann’s expressive, gestural strokes infuse her paintings with a playfulness that gently draws us in, but simultaneously make it clear that overt displays of charm mixed with aggression are learned – learned and celebrated in an increasingly aggressive society that demarcates male characteristics as powerful, strong and unabashedly fierce.
In Swagger, the artist takes both a historical and a critical approach to her work and makes explicit the social conditioning – and subsequent anxiety – of impressionable individuals. Grossmann reveals ideologies of aggression and masculinity that are both overtly and unintentionally displaced onto children. The boys’ righteous pride and displays of self-aggrandization make clear their sense of entitlement to both burgeoning masculinity and a male-dominated culture.
Grossmann initially garnered international recognition for examining themes of displacement and social margins. More recently, with her haunting images of defiant yet vulnerable teenage girls in her series Alpha Girls (2004) and Paper Dolls (2006), Grossmann explored private and societal anxieties adolescent girls experience surrounding issues of popular identity and the body.
In May of 2006, Grossmann was included in a list of the 100 most influential artists as determined by British Art Students polled from 11 leading institutions in the United Kingdom by London-based The Art Newspaper.
Diane Farris Gallery has represented Angela Grossmann in twelve solo shows and numerous group exhibits since it’s inception in 1984. Her work is featured in the collections of many leading public institutions, including the National Gallery of Canada. She has participated in many exhibitions across Canada, the United States and Europe. After earning an MFA at Concordia University and teaching at Ottawa University, Grossmann returned to Vancouver in 1996 to paint and to teach at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.
“As one of the first artists I began representing twenty-three years ago, I am thrilled to present this new exhibition of Angela’s work which, following her view of young girls, shows us her studied “take” on the opposite sex in its youthful state”, said gallery owner Diane Farris.