“Writing the Body,” the exhibition currently on display at the Queens College Art Center, features new pieces by one of the college’s alums, Naomi Grossman.
In college, Grossman was a math major (with an education minor) who never really saw herself as an artist. However, while teaching high school math in Manhattan, she began taking drawing classes.
“I’m really sort of homegrown,” said Grossman, whose studio is in Long Island City.
Grossman continued to get increasingly interested in art and decided to try to make it a career.
The current exhibition at Queens College includes many wire sculptures of the female form that have words in them. She said they came about through a “lucky accident.”
Grossman had already been creating paintings with words in them. She eventually started making torso sculptures using paper and clear plastic dry cleaners’ bags that were held together using wire. One day in her studio at the time, which was in a school, she decided to burn the edges of the plastic, which started a fire.
That incident made Grossman decide to stop using the shredded paper and she began pulling it out of the torsos.
“I ended up with these hallowed out forms…,” she said. “I believe in lucky accidents. I believe when materials do something you don’t expect [to be] mindful.”
Grossman was also influenced to start working words into her sculptures. She had a piece on the wall with words and a sculpture in front of it. As she looked through the sculpture to the other piece, she began thinking “what if.”
She has now been creating her wire sculptures for at least 10 years.
“They keep changing and they become more wordy and more airy,” Grossman said.
Grossman uses needle-nosed pliers and many different kinds of wires. She said that creating the sculptures can be hard on her hands, but that the most time-consuming aspect is letting the pieces talk to her. At the start of the sculpture, she does not already know what words she will include.
Grossman said that she loves that wire has a fragility and delicacy to it while also having strength, which is also related to how she sees women – beautiful but strong.
The sculptures aren’t the only pieces included in “Writing the Body.” Along with some multi-media pieces, Grossman was able to do a site specific installation.
Previously, Grossman participated in two group exhibitions at Queens College.
Grossman said she hopes people find the pieces in “Writing the Body” to be aesthetically pleasing and intriguing.
“I think a lot of what I have in here mirrors what people are feeling,” she said. “I hope my work resonates with people and that they look at it and say…‘I feel this.’”
“Writing the Body” will be on display through December 23 at the Queens College Art Center, which is located on the sixth floor of the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library at 65-30 Kissena Boulevard in Flushing.
The gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.
For more information on the exhibition or gallery, visit www.qcpages.qc.cuny.edu/Art_Library/artcenter.html or call 718-997-3770. To find out more about Grossman, visit www.naomigrossman.com.