Personal narrative and the role of memory and imagination, particularly as it relates to family, loss, and place, is what drives my practice. In this intimate exploration, I am able to investigate and comprehend the significance of the personal as it relates to a broader, more inclusive context. My narratives translate as whimsical and somber, joyous and mournful, comedic and dramatic, much like the hallmarks of human nature.
Most recently I have been making portraits of deceased family members, not so much to commemorate them, but rather to come to terms with their all too brief existence, their deaths, and the process of mourning and remembering. I am, in a sense, giving myself permission to continue the grieving process in this work with the hope that it will encourage others to do the same. We live with a “get over it” mentality that does not serve our health or well being.
I begin with a place; I paint a specific location that I conjure from my particular geography and add the individual as I remember or imagine his or her presence in that locale. I refer to photographs as reference periodically, but for the most part these images come from my head, my reminiscences. The imagery grows out of a scene that develops slowly as I work, and that gradual connection between place and person becomes a painting.
Rima Grad makes work that deals with personal narrative, through painting, collage, and altered vernacular photography. She was born in New York City and received her BFA with a concentration in Etching in 1975 from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Rima received her MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2017. The forty-year gap was spent working in Graphic Design, raising a family, and acting as a caregiver. And always making art. Rima lives in Manhattan and has a studio in Bushwick. Rima has participated in solo, group, and juried exhibitions throughout New York City, Westchester County, and Connecticut. Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, The Journal News, and other local and regional publications and is included in many private and corporate collections. She has Instagram and Twitter accounts, an artist’s page on Facebook, and is a member of New York Artist’s Equity and Crit Lab.