Leather Master Nancy Grossman, Before the Heads
Nancy Grossman has been plumbing the depths of her psyche for more than 50 years, in muscular, exquisitely crafted collages, drawings, assemblages, and sculptures. “The whole exciting, important thing about art has to do with being out of control,” she has said. Working primarily with found objects and textiles, she combines materials with a precision gained from a childhood spent on a farm and working in her parents’ textile factory. Through a fruitful friendship with Romare Bearden, she honed her collage-making techniques. Her works range from abstract compositions borne out of her own churning thoughts, drives, and emotions, to masculine figurative sculptures. Grossman is best known for her evocative sculptures of heads, produced between the late 1960s and 1990. Carved of wood and covered in black leather studded with zippers, spikes, and straps, they are portraits of the artist—and of us.
American, b. 1940