With a fascination for the human form and identity, Marco Grassi creates intense portrait paintings consisting of vibrant colours that challenge the boundaries of pop art. Grassi’s work is composed of pigments directly applied to the canvas with a palette knife, defining texture and character through this layering process, and often adorned with his signature gold leaf technique.
Marco Grassi (Grama) is a painter of Italian origin, born in Milan in 1966. Grassi currently lives and works in Lugano, Switzerland. Since the beginning of his career, Grassi developed a very personal style which praises the identity of female subjects in the specific moment in which they are painted. With his intense female portraits, Grassi seeks to captivate the viewer by creating a silent dialogue between the subject and the audience. Grassi's pieces are striking; they combine pure decoration and hyper-realistic colour.
The human form is at the center of Marco Grassi’s artistic practice. Renown for his seductive depictions of women, Grassi’s models are at once delicate and determined. His portraits, suffused with vibrant colours, carry a complex sensibility. Devoting himself to portraiture, Grassi succeeds in challenging the typical standards of this genre through abstract colourplay and directional composition.
The artist forgoes preparatory sketches, choosing to apply his pigments directly on the canvas with a palette knife. In doing so, Grassi allows the medium to define itself, honouring its texture and character. In his recent works, backgrounds tend to gradually integrate themselves with the subject, softly blending the frenetic edges created by the palette knife. Grassi’s style is defined by his layering work, each strata of colour holding a unique energy and significance. The onlooker is invited to penetrate these layers to discover the emotional complexity of the artist’s subjects. His female nudes are provocative and inviting, distinguishing themselves from traditional figure studies.
Introducing a new thematic to his production, Kiddos is a collection of works featuring preadolescent subjects. Just old enough to have lost part of their innocence, they are on the cusp of disenchantment. The artist contrasts this fading virtue with the decadence and corruption of our contemporary society, covering his teenage subjects with the contradicting symbols, icons, and modern mantras of pop culture. With the series Kiddos, Grassi presents a wry commentary on the overwhelming social conditioning of today’s youth.
Grassi's works have been exhibited in many solo and group exhibits, and international fairs such as Art Basel, Scope Art Fair and the Moscow Art Fair. He was selected to be at the opening of the Italian Pavilion, at the Venice Biennale in 2011.