Dorothy Grostern



So Many Dreams, mixed media on paper, 41″ x 29″, 2012


You Know, mixed media on paper, 41″ x 29″, 2012


Toss, mixed media on paper, 41″ x 29″ 2012


I Didn’t Know, I Didn’t See, I Didn’t Understandmixed media on paper, 41″ x 29″, 2011


People Cry, diptych, mixed media on paper, 30″ x 40″, 2011


Coat, mixed media on paper, 30″ x 22″, 2011


Hold, mixed media on paper, 41″ x 29″, 2011


Sunny Window, mixed media on paper, 41″ x 29″, 2011

Artist Statement 

My work as an artist reflects my deep interest in all aspects of the human condition. I believe that art is an intensely expressive language that can speak the truth as powerfully as the written and spoken word.

The human body conveys an enormous range of expressive possibilities. Its complex form and spirit, its ever-changing rhythms and moods continue to affect me, challenging me to search for my own personal truths among the layers of meanings evoked. Because of its richness of structure, color, and emotional intensity, it represents the perfect vehicle with which I can explore my ideas.

The narrative element in my work is strong but my stories are visual. I am impelled by my need to record—a moment in time, family dramas, memories, and fantasies. My work is about love and hate, desire and despair—the emotional dance of life.

The work that I am showing here is part of a large series of works on paper titled Journal Drawings. I began working on this series in 2010, and completed approximately 30 images. These works involve the transformation of my hand-written journals into a visual narrative. For many years, I kept journals, using ordinary sketchbooks in which to record numerous thoughts, insights, and personal struggles, as well as life-changing emotional events and relationships. I filled more than 26 sketchbooks.

While reflecting on the passage of time, I decided that I did not want to keep these journals in their present form, because they contained deeply personal material. I conceived of a way to preserve their essence by integrating pages from the journals into my drawings and paintings. The words I had written are mostly obliterated and obscured by the mediums I have used, yet they remain beneath the images and become an important element in the finished work. The emotions I expressed in my journals have been transferred into the visual images, producing, I hope, an interesting and evocative body of work. 

About the Artist

Born in London, England, in 1940, Dorothy Grostern emigrated to Canada with her family in 1954. She attended Sir George Williams University,  then studied painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture at the Saidye Bronfman Centre School of the Arts, where she eventually became an assistant in the printmaking department. For the next 16 years she taught advanced life drawing at the SBC.

Dorothy Grostern has had an active artistic career for more than 30 years, during which she has exhibited in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, as well as Brazil and Taiwan. She has had many solo shows in Montreal and Toronto and has participated in numerous group and juried exhibitions. Her most recent solo exhibition was held in September, 2014, at the E.K. Voland Art Center in Montreal.

The artist’s work is in several public and private collections, including the Claridge Collection and the collection of the Musee du Quebec. Dorothy Grostern has received several awards and prizes, and her work has been reviewed a number of times in Vie des Arts, a leading arts publication in Quebec.

She also has produced several sculptures.

In September 2013, Dorothy Grostern published a book, a type of visual narrative, which integrates handwritten words with many of her paintings, drawings, and sketches. The book is titled My House Has Many Rooms.

A member of The Society of Canadian Artists, Dorothy Grostern is represented in Montreal by Beaux Arts David Astrof and by 3C Gallery.

Dorothy Grostern is married to Sheldon Grostern; they have three sons. She lives and works in Montreal.

Dorothy Grostern Website

My House Has Many Rooms

Beaux Arts David Astrof

3C Gallery

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