While still a student at Emily Carr College (now University) of Art and Design in 1985, Angela Grossmann was introduced as one of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s “Young Romantic” painters most likely to influence the course of painting in that decade.
Over the past 25 years, Grossmann has continued to be a significant force in the Canadian art world. In June 2006, she was included in a list of 100 artists who have most influenced students at eleven leading British art schools, including the Royal Academy, Slade and Royal College of Art.
Grossmann has devoted much of her career to examining themes of displacement and social margins through the use of collaged and transferred discarded materials. In an early series titled Affaires d’Enfants (1987), she painted on the insides of suitcases abandoned by an agency in Paris that once sponsored summer camp holidays for orphans. In 1991, she created (Sign)ifying the END of the (Second) 2nd World War using photographs of unknown European children found in second-hand shops.
Grossmann based her 1994 exhibition Scapegoats on mug shots taken of prisoners in the British Columbia Penitentiary during the 1940s. In a strange world hovering between fantasy and reality, she forced viewers to face the human side of criminals. Her 1999 exhibition, My Vocation, presented the human figure graphically sketched and enlarged. The images emerged through ephemeral layers of letters, photographs, addresses, envelopes, postage and cancellation marks.
In her more recent work, Grossmann emphasizes coming-of-age themes. Alpha Girls (2004), a forceful narrative series, resonated with the emotional world of young teen girls. Paper Dolls continued the themes of social status, fashion and identity among the “paper dolls” of 2006.
Also in 2006, she joined forces once more with Douglas Coupland, Graham Gillmore, Attila Richard Lukacs and Derek Root to create a massive sculptural installation entitled Vancouver School. Grossmann collaborates with this group on a regular basis for special projects.
After earning an MFA at Concordia University and teaching at Ottawa University, Grossmann returned to Vancouver in 1997 to paint and to teach at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and University of British Columbia.
Her work has been exhibited widely across Canada, the United States and Europe. It is in numerous public and private collections.