Mary Grigoriadis

The first art I saw as a child was in the Greek Orthodox Church where I sat daydreaming in front of the iconostasis during the long mass, intrigued not only by the images of saints, but also by the borders of delicate patterns in blue and gold which framed them. I haunted the Metropolitan Museum as a teenager, examining the collections, filing away images and trying to understand how paintings are made. It became a sacred place for me. Perhaps that was why I called my early work ‘secular icons.’ After studying art and art history, in the mid-sixties, I worked for Lawrence Alloway, the chief curator of the Guggenheim Museum. There, I developed an understanding of contemporary art and an appreciation of what the commitment to making art entails. In 1971-1972, I participated in the formation of the groundbreaking, still vital, A.I.R. Gallery, the first women artists gallery in New York. I showed my work there until 1987. My commitment to the gallery as an Advisory Board Member was deep and lasted until 2016. While showing nationally and internationally, I raised my daughter, Vanessa, with my late husband, Michael Grigoriadis, a proud ‘politis.’ Our home valued our heritage and ancestry. My work, part of the Pattern and Decoration Movement, celebrated this connection with references to the palette and patterns of Byzantine art and women’s traditional handiwork.

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