I began using the term, Mistressworks, a year ago after seeing yet another art book titled, ‘Masterworks from the collection of … ‘, which included works by more than 100 men and three women. The use of the word master, mastery, and masterpieces annoyed me then and still does. Mistressworks claims a new territory, away from the ubiquitous and outdated word master which endorses and echoes a misogynous past.
I also use the term to refer to my own relationship with painting, in my practice painting has been secret – the ‘other relationship ‘. Though painting was my original métier, it had taken a back seat to mixed media collage in recent years. When I return to painting – I am returning to my mistress.
The body is my starting point. Moreover our flesh, the way we inhabit it, the way we perform in it, the way it’s perceived and the way we feel about that. I learn this by observing people, the way a spine twists or the way an elastic band cuts into flesh, stolen glimpses on a bus or in a coffee shop. I never work from photographs – I find my subjects in the paint. The subtle body that we all to some extent share emerges from memory, intuition and physicality of paint.
These bodies are described as much by their form as they are by their colour. It is said that you feel colour before you see it, that it registers physically before we have a chance to name it. I have titled the paintings mostly for their colours: Lemon, Tangerine, Ultramarine to conjure the senses and all our inferences, impulses and memory compiled from the ancients.
–Angela Grossmann, 2017