Mantra, Grant’s first solo show at the Positive Art Center and in Asia, brings together works of varying dimensions and material complexity from Grant’s Antigone 3000 series. All the works use the same three basic elements that Grant has employed throughout the series: pours of paint to represent the messiness of real or daily life, ruled lines to represent the rule of law, and the quote from Sophocles, representing Antigone’s voice. I was born to love not to hate is mirrored, so a viewer might read “I SAWAS I” before realizing the symmetrical design. Grant’s resourcefulness as a painter is visible in the variety of materials used—acrylic, spray, and oil paint, wax, acrylic and Sumi ink, and colored pencil—and the range of processes employed—collage, wax rubbing, and screen printing—on substrates of linen, canvas, and paper.
The thirty-two works on display in Mantra can be divided loosely by size and material. There are a dozen large-scale works on paper or on canvas that use acrylic paint. These are reference images for the evolving nature of the body of the work and exhibit diagonal stripes crisscrossing the composition or buried under an explosion of small dots, deep pours, and text. Twenty smaller works, painted concurrently, are made of oil paint and wax among other materials on linen. On the elaborate surfaces of these smaller works, the repetitive use of I was born to love not to hate becomes a mantra-like chant that echoes across as the letters begin to break down and gradually vanish under dots, stars, lines, and pours.
─Love and Language As Image In Alexandra Grant’s Painting by Alma Ruiz