Reflex Magazine
January/February 1992
Seattle, WA

Gail Grinnell at Italia Restaurant

Stenciled, slightly blurred angels alternate with thickly drawn spinal columns. Wallpaper flowers and blackened, disembodied hearts float in checkerboard fields. Grinnell's patchworked painting/collages speak of intimate domestic histories. Her art is rhythmically punctuated with private symbols. At first glance, the collected paintings appear slightly decorative— soothing in their colorful, geometric patterning. On closer inspection, Grinnell's work takes on a certain resonance. Her use of grids is insistent, not self-conscious. Like quilt blocks or linoleum floor tiles, they bear the traces of physical contact. Her repeated images shift with every application: colors change subtly, images appear sequentially and then vanish just when she's established a certain level of expectation. Mininature Gulf, a small piece made in response to the war, aches with loss. Newspaper clippings listing young causalities are overlaid with the printed silhouettes of an over-sized lily—at once the black flower of death and the betrayed hope of resurrection. Hidden in the folds of the piece is the image of an infant, curled tightly into a ball of isolated flesh.

— L.R.A.