Antonietta Grassi is a 2024 Guggenheim Fellow

On April 11, the Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation , including Dawson鈥檚 own Fine Arts faculty member Antonietta Grassi!

鈥淚 am thrilled and incredibly honoured to have received a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2024,鈥 Antonietta said. 鈥淢any thanks and appreciation to the Guggenheim Foundation for their recognition and support and to those who have supported me in this process.鈥

Antonietta was chosen from over 3,000 applicants through a rigorous selection process. Each fellow receives a significant monetary stipend to pursue independent work at the highest level under 鈥渢he freest possible conditions.鈥

As stated on her , Antonietta 鈥渉as been committed to the practice of abstract painting for most of her career.聽Her paintings, which often resemble weavings or textiles, are composed of multi-layered painted surfaces that are intuitively derived at. Forms that resemble machine parts are intersected by fine, thread-like lines鈥攃reating works where textile, architecture, analog technology and the history of abstract painting collide.鈥

Photo credit: Paul Litherland; installation view of 2022 solo exhibition Zip Stack Flow

Antonietta spoke about her family life and described her work in the book Italianit脿: Contemporary Art Inspired by the Italian Immigrant Experience (): 鈥淢y mother, who was a garment worker, sewed most of our clothes, a process that started with selecting the fabrics and laying out the pattern. My home was also filled with the plans and blueprints that belonged to my father, who was a carpenter and house builder, as were many of his fellow Italian immigrants. This diagrammatic way of looking at an object is ingrained in my memory.鈥

鈥淢any of my paintings resemble the loom鈥檚 form or building plans, providing a link to my own roots. The threadlike lines in my paintings hold these influences and memories together. Yet it is not only my personal history that I am alluding to in my work but also my interest in forgotten histories of women, technology, and obsolescence.

鈥淒rawing on the link between the textile industry and the Jacquard loom to computer programming, I highlight the forgotten contribution of women scientists and mathematicians who were pioneers of early computer programming. The Jacquard loom, a machine invented in the 1800s that weaves patterns using punch cards, was an important development in the history of computer hardware thanks to Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage. My works are often titled after the women scientists or the programs they developed such as Linkers no. 1 and Linkers no. 2 (for Grace Hopper) and Ada (after Lovelace).鈥

After graduating with a diploma in design from Ryerson University in 1987, she began her career as a designer and colour researcher in the textile and fashion industries in Montreal.

Antonietta always enjoyed drawing and painting. However, it was only after beginning her career in design that she began taking art courses at Concordia University part time. It was at Concordia that she met her mentor, painter Yves Gaucher. In time, she decided to take the plunge and dedicate herself to full-time studies toward her Bachelor of Fine Arts. She later completed a Master of Fine Arts at Universit茅 du Qu茅bec 脿 Montr茅al and has been teaching at Dawson in the Fine Arts department for over two decades.

Antonietta鈥檚 advice to young artists is to not wait for inspiration but to commit to daily practice and routine even if it means just a little bit each day. At Dawson, she enjoys seeing the artistic development of her students.

Her work can be found in public and private collections, including the Mus茅e du Qu茅bec, Mus茅e d’art contemporain de Baie Saint Paul, BLG, Groupe Desjardins, Foreign Affairs Canada, Ontario Archives, the MAACK in Italy, Stewart Hall, and the Boston Public Library.


More on Antonietta Grassi鈥檚 work:

  • Antonietta will debut new work at the (4815 Saint-Laurent Blvd.,
    Montreal) in the upcoming group exhibition 鈥淭he Theory of Networks鈥 from May 4 to June 29, 2024.
  • Monograph coming out in June 2024: Antonietta Grassi by art historian Sylvie Laserte, PhD
  • In the summer, you can check out Antonietta鈥檚 public art project for the Esplanade Cartier (including the Women鈥檚 Y), Cascade de couleurs. This is near the Jacques Cartier Bridge.
  • Antonietta Grassi鈥檚 official website:
  • Italianit脿: Contemporary Art Inspired by the Italian Immigrant Experience:
  • La Presse feature (December 2023):
  • Le Devoir news about the Guggenheim Fellowship on April 17:

Last Modified: April 25, 2024