Grace Roselli is a Brooklyn, New York based artist. She has a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and was awarded the RISD scholarship to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Upon graduating with honors she was awarded a residency with the Empire State Studio program in New York City.
Roselli has had solo exhibitions with the Mar Silver Design Lab in Westport, Connecticut, the Anita Friedman Fine Arts Gallery in New York City, and with Pentimenti gallery in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in numerous group shows, including the 2013 exhibition 'Coup de Chapeau' at the Gemeente Museum in the Netherlands. Recently published by Jaded Ibis Press, "Is The Room" features Roselli's photographs alongside a collection of poems by Rosetta Jenning Ballew. In addition to her art work, Roselli co-curated one of the final shows at Franklin Furnace's gallery space, "Voyeur's Delight."
Covered by publications and blogs, Roselli's art has been featured in Artnet Magazine, The New York Times, Fine Art Magazine, Whitehot Magazine, Hyperallergic, Site 95, Art Journal (College Art Association), Gallery Beat, New Yorker, Metropolitan Home, At Home, Connecticut Cottages and Gardens, New England Home, Jaded Ibis Press,Village Voice, Time Out New York, The Village Voice, Lusitania Press, among others.
The sexiest smells in the world are the gasoline fumes in old garages and sandalwood—Motorcycles and Scheherazade are personal triggers to my primal sense of self and sensuality. My work is driven by the malleable nature of identity, eroticism and gender, and is realized through visual dialogues with transition and self modification mediated by both natural and man-made forces.
NAKED BIKE PROJECT
There’s a rich history of women’s bodies, nude and clothed, portrayed in art. Much of this historical portrayal has ranged from the casually misogynistic to outright sexism. After a still ongoing struggle for awareness and rights, many women are now controlling, owning and celebrating the narrative of their bodies.
The Naked Bike Project is a performance of that narrative, the language and agency of the body combined with a machinetraditionally associated not just with men, but sexuality, rebellion and freedom.
The motorcycles portrayed cease to be mere moving vehicles but become a symbol and extension of contemporary female sensuality. It’s curves echoing the form of the body, the motorcycle functions as a lover, a prop, a site for the expression of utter physicality. The female bikers who have volunteered for the project share a love of riding and a willingness to be vulnerable for an idea: re-imagining the portrayal of their bodies in combination with their beloved machines. The images of Naked Bike are as diverse as the individuals being portrayed.
Women riders and machine can be one—cyborgs rejecting the boundaries and social mores that separate human from machine. In some pictures the women are covered in gear for the sport, but also can function here as armor, a mysterious shell, a hidden space. In others, that protective layer is gone. Naked, the women project what protects them, or not, as female.
My work isn’t about documenting the visibility of the growing number of female riders, but a change in the very culture we’re in. This is not just about/for women, this freedom of thought is for everyone.
A work in progress, ultimately Naked Bike is about the journey, the beginning of a provocative and culture-shifting ride.
UNCANNY LADY M
With my series of large-scale photographs and paintings titled ‘The Uncanny Lady M’, I’ve combined a science fiction landscape with a revisionist narrative for the significant, exciting leading ladies who enter a storyline only to be become the main male character’s trophy, quietly ushered off stage when no longer needed.
Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth, the leading lady of ‘Macbeth’, whose gender thwarts the ferocity of her ambitions, mouths ”Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here…” in Act I, Scene 5. By Act 5, she’s sleepwalking out of the story.
Lady Macbeth’s story was desperately ripe for revision, so I re-imagined her as a cyborg queen, a post-human machine without the constraints of morality, class, race or gender.
Pre-production involved sculpting face and body coverings, abstracted ‘crowns’ for Lady M’s queen takeover. Fashioned from skin pricking wire mesh, mylar and plastic tubing, all of which serve to enhance, obscure and, at times restrain the body in provocative ways.
For the initial photo shoot, I asked invited women to imagine themselves as the badass beauty wearing only the sculpted crown and to interact with a distorted image of themselves formulated via a sheet of reflective mylar.
Ultimately, the individual performer’s sense of identity merges with the physical parameters of the set. The actual woman and her misrepresentation become one.
Disquieting beauties of pain and pleasure, these women are fiercely themselves, becoming the elements in a non-verbal alphabet within the poetry of the re-imagined body.
IS THE ROOM
In 2013 I was asked by Debra DiBlasi of Jaded Ibis Press to make a visual interpretation of Rosetta Ballew Jenkin’ first published book of poems, “IS THE ROOM”.
In Rosetta's poem 'As if she were something opened', there is a sentence "she lines the walls with herself". The 'she' "Is The Room". The walls are the space between her unconscious mind and hard edge reality. Her perceived acts, relationships, her life's past, present and future are now projected onto the walls of this one dream room.
I am exploring that metaphor of 'the wall' or the space between the 'realness' of our subconscious and what can be the subjective fantasies of reality.
In giving visual form to this idea, I invited a group of friends to my studio for a portrait session--not of themselves, but a portrait/performance of the space surrounding them, the outline that defines their relationships to themselves, each other, and to myself as recorder.
My set is very simple--light,a white wall and some studio materials. Mylar for its 'distorted' images and glassine- a transparent drawing paper 'boundary' that can be punched, pummeled and ripped down.
Thus, the stage is set for what is turning out to be a series of very personal and surprising scenarios.