Nostalgia was first described as a disease in the 19th century and referred to the pain felt by someone who, longing to return home, fears never to see it again. In contemporary contexts, it is a word that conjures paradoxical and layered associations. Often considered a pejorative term, it references a retrograde attitude that idealizes the past and stands counter to progression. Yet as a reaction against a modernist agenda of “progress,” nostalgia intimates a suspicion of an ever-improving future. Skeptical, reflective and voyeuristic, it illuminates the space of longing. It is this more complicated nostalgia that I explore in my current work. An intentional manipulation of images toward strangeness embodies both desire and ambivalence of familial, and especially maternal, space. The transformation brought on through process both creates a sense of past while it denies the betrayal of time, suggesting another proposition that contains facets of truth, fantasy, desire, pride and regret.
Beth Grabowski received her BA from the University of Virginia and MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985. She has received three North Carolina Arts Council Awards: a project grant in 1987 and Individual Artist's Fellowships in 1990-91 and 1998-2000. Her work has been represented major statewide exhibitions in the state of North Carolina, including The North Carolina Triennial Exhibition. She has also shown widely in national and international venues including exhibitions at the Beijing International Art Camp, and the Novosibirsk State Art Museum, Novosibirsk, Russia.
Grabowski has received two Provost's awards for Creative Activity inthe Fine Arts; one to support curatorial work on a portfolio in honor of Käthe Kollwitz. This portfolio opened at the Kollwitz Museum in Berlin during the September 2005 Impact conference. Beth Grabowski's prints, drawings, and artist books are included in numerous public and private collections.
Grabowski is co-author, with Bill Fick, of Printmaking; A Complete Guide to Materials and Processes. The book was published by Laurence King Publishers (London) and released in August 2009. In addition to the British edition, it was released in the US by Prentice Hall and Spanish and French editions by Blume and Eyrolles publishers respectively.
Beth Grabowski is Professor of Art at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. A member of the faculty since 1985, she has received multiple awards for her excellence in teaching. Currently she serves as the Assistant Chair and Director of Graduate Studies for Studio Art.