Exhibition | JOHN GRILLO | Essay

John Grillo: Tamarind Workshop Paintings and Prints
on view at David Hall Fine Art.


In March of 1964 John Grillo (1917 – 2014) began a printmaking fellowship at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles. Grillo was nominated for the fellowship by friend and artist, Will Barnet. During his fellowship, Grillo created a series of Abstract Expressionist lithographs that are now in the print collections of major American museums including MOMA, The Brooklyn Museum, Harvard University and the NY Public Library. These prints are important examples of Abstract Expressionist printmaking.

By the time Grillo arrived at the Tamarind Workshop in Los Angeles he was familiar with the lithography printmaking process. In 1946, he created a series of single color lithographs while a student at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. In contrast, many of the lithographs executed in 1964 involve multiple colors and were more complex and innovative in execution. All of the print runs were created in low edition sizes of twenty copies.

Between press runs, Grillo would experiment with ideas, tools and inking combinations. These investigations allowed him to produce a small series of paintings which are the focus of this exhibition. Some of the works are free standing statements that employ the tools utilized in the printmaking process while others are more closely tied to the prints that Grillo produced.

These experimental works were stored by the artist for over fifty years and are being exhibited for the first time in this online show.


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