Miriam Grossman Emoji Series
The cultural divisions of my native NYC have always interested me. My art is an attempt to dive beneath to the emotions we all share in order to bring them to our consciousness. Connecting with people at their essence is reflected in my interest in biographies and documentaries. I am fascinated by individual choices that lead people astray. Ignoring the fundamental issues in ourselves leaves us at the mercy of our circumstances which can fatalistically lead us to self-destruction. I am intrigued by wildly successful people for the same reason.
Among the landscapes and still-lifes of my work is a focus on portraiture. While I admire the detail of Johannes Vermeer, the loose, edgy portraits of Oskar Kokuschka and his disturbing colors create a relatable discomfort exploring the darker, perhaps more realistic side of people. Modernism, Bauhaus, and work as a graphic designer have also influenced much of my recent work.
The Emoji Series is an exploration of hands that are posed to capture different base emotions.
While historically I have worked in a painterly way, in this series I challenge myself to tighten strokes into larger blocks of color and simplify the elements of the figurative image in order to have a larger impact. As I progressed through this challenge, I found I was nonetheless employing painterly strokes with slight shifts in color and tint, encouraging a closer view. In this way, the Emoji Series has become a partial documentary of my initial journey from painterly work to abstraction.
While I enjoy the simplicity of breaking down human character to black and white, I generally prefer to utilize a spectrum of colors in each piece. In this series, however, I chose to limit the palette while focussing the subject to the language of the hand.
In some pieces, deliberate use of pure color taps into core emotions and remind the viewer to unbury them. In monochrome work I encourage dominance of form and composition, with the main color choice reflecting a simple mood.
Working exclusively with canvas and paint, implementation is experimental with each emoticon, presenting the different mood/time/emotion each reflects. Experimenting with different background techniques, and even none at all, empowered me to promote the core emotion further.
Investigating the universal emotions in the human experience that transcend cultural divides strives to encourage the viewer’s focus on the base essence of each individual so we can thrive and bond in community, not just fatalistically survive. Tapping into the universal emotions we all share also makes us more sympathetic towards others by abandoning biases and reminding the viewer we are more alike than we differ.
The expressive hand poses in The Emoji Series are essentially self-portraits documenting my particular emotions during a tumultuous time. The pure, bold colors express a hopefulness that introspection leads to clarity, which can lead to a happier perspective in connection to The Universe.
1. Miriam Grossman, Emoji #1 Prayer #3 , 2019, (Floating Heart), (Acrylic on canvas), 48” x 36”
2. Miriam Grossman, Emoji #3 Tension #2 , 2020, (Acrylic on canvas), 48” x 36”
3. Miriam Grossman, Emoji #3 Tension #3 , 2020, (Acrylic on canvas), 20” x 16”
4. Miriam Grossman, Emoji #4 Blame , 2020, (Acrylic on canvas), 24” x 30”
5. Miriam Grossman, Emoji #5 Submission , 2020, (Acrylic on canvas), 30” x 40”