Rockville Centre resident Naomi Grossman’s life-size wire sculptures will be included in an upcoming exhibition at The Plaxall Gallery in Long Island City for the next month. She is one of six artists featured in the invitational exhibition, with an opening reception on Jan. 18, and will have five pieces on view.
“My wire sculptures reference the female form and function drawings as well,” said Grossman. “Wire magically becomes line in space, changing in character and becoming messages from within.”
Grossman, 69, has lived in Rockville Centre for about 40 years. She had a studio in Long Island City until about two months ago, when she relocated to Glen Cove. Earlier in her career, Grossman was working in a makeshift studio in a wing of an elementary school building shared by several artists. The teachers threw away shredded paper, and as the saying goes, one person’s trash is another one’s treasure: the discarded paper became the inspiration for a new project and a new medium for Grossman’s art. Initially, she used wire to connect the paper, and eventually stopped using the paper. At one point, she said, “the words just jumped into it.” She called it a “lucky accident.”
The wire, she explained, functions to create a tension, while also conveying both strength and fragility.
“The sculptures are delicate and have words embedded in their ‘skin.’ These words give the viewer the sense of eavesdropping on someone’s secret obsessive thoughts,” Grossman said.
Her wire self-portrait, Lifelines, is not only a reflection of herself, but Grossman described it as a commentary on aging: how it is viewed in this society and what is considered beauty – a common theme in her work.
“My work brings up issues of aging, loss, displacement, isolation, insecurity and the desire for connection and love,” Grossman said.
She was invited to be a part of the exhibition Six Perspectives by curator Chuck Baker, who had seen her work in other galleries.
“When I was putting together this show, my sole purpose was to find six strong, accomplished, individual artists,” Baker said. “Naomi was the perfect candidate. Her work is unique, imaginative and important. She has her own point of view, her own ‘perspective’ if you will, and uses it to focus the viewer’s attention on several issues. Her pieces shed light on aging, love and hate as well as many other social issues. They are made from yards of delicate wire twisted into human forms that contain hidden words and secret meanings. I have never seen anything like it.”
Grossman earned a bachelor’s degree from Queens College and a master’s degree from New York University. Over the past 20 years or so, her work has evolved as she has explored various mediums, from painting to photography to sculpture, yet one thing has remained consistent. Much of her work portrays the human form, and the majority of that focuses on the female image. And over the years, her work has won various awards, most notably the People’s Choice Award at the Long Island Biennial at Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington in 2018.
“That was a really nice award to receive,” Grossman said, “because it showed how many people were fascinated by my work and that it communicates something to people.”
She also received an honorable mention in the Guild Hall Members Show in East Hampton in 2018 and earned an artist residency as a Hambidge Fellow at the Hambidge Art Center in Rabun Gap, GA, in 2008 and 2011.
Six Perspectives will be on view at The Plaxall Gallery, 5-25 46th Ave., Long Island City, from Jan. 16 to Feb. 16. The opening reception will take place on Saturday, Jan. 18, from 7 to 10 p.m.