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Grier Torrence - grier_torrence@missporters.org
Chair of Arts Department Miss Porters School
Director of Donaldson and Gilbert Galleries
Margaret How Wallace '27 Teaching Chair

Instructor of:
    Advanced Placement Studio Art
    Studio Art 3
    Studio Art 2
    Sometimes of Computer Art

Fan of Crew

What you are seeing here are scanned photographs of paintings, drawings, and prints or digital photographs of the work. So you are looking at an electronic/digital representation. In the actual works themselves, you can see and feel the texture and scale of the cotton, linen, paint and charcoal. The tradition of an art that is made with hands, and that you can touch, is essential and human. But the website gives a good overview.

The work shown on this site currently spans almost forty years. The home page is a self portrait from 1974. There are recent works here from 2014, and works from along the way. They represent a small selection of pieces from each of the chapters of my life. The works result from a combination of perception, imagination, memory, translation, and improvisation. The landscapes are mostly done on the spot, whereas the studio pieces have a more varied and possibly complex evolution. Drawing often plays an important and fundamental roll, and so the drawings are here too. Hopefully there is a balance of form and content; the abstract elements of pictorial construction and the narrative.

Both my mother's mother and father's father could draw very well. I was mesmerized by a drawing my grandfather had made on cardboard and given to me for my birthday. But to me, as a child, it all seemed new. I felt that I was in my own world and blazing my own path, although I had many wonderful teachers and friends.

In grade school, I was fortunate to study with George Chaplin, Stanley Lewis, and Roger Oberlie, and at boarding school with Mike King. Beginning with my college years at Stanford University, in Palo Alto, CA, I studied with Frank Lobdell, Nathan Oliveira, and Keith Boyle. The sense of light in the Bay Area and the legacy of Park and Deibenkorn were influential. (I became interested in Beckmann then, who had been one of Oliveira's teachers). At RISD, I studied with Victor Lara, Dean Ricardson, and Richard Merkin. (At the time, I was looking at Soyer, Benton, Henri, Bacon, Chagall, Giacometti, and Picasso). I painted on my own for two years after my undergraduate years. (I looked at Carra, Morandi, Sironi, and de Chirico). At Yale, my teachers included William Bailey, Bernard Chaet, Rackstraw Downes, Gretna Campbell, and Lester Johnson. (Added to my mentors would be works by little-known Haitian artists from the nineteen-twenties to which my brother Leland introduced me. And I admired Hopper and Balthus). At the Woodstock School of Art, I learned a lot from Bob Angeloch. The teachers at WSA would actually work along with their students. That made a lot of down-to-earth sense to me. (I liked the work of Utrillo, Canaletto, Gerard David, and Stanley Spencer). Finally, there is a French connection with my longtime favorite artists: Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne, Matisse, and Picasso, all of whom worked there. Throughout most of my life, I have enjoyed interactions with many amazing artists and friends. They mean a lot to me and it is largely for them that I felt inspired to create this site, as a way to keep the dialog going.

I lived in Brooklyn, NY for eleven years, in a little garret that was my studio, before moving to Woodstock, NY (where I had spent a few weeks each summer for about ten years) to live full time for two years. Finally, I came to Farmington, CT to live and teach at Miss Porter's School.

I am interested in the world within, the psychology of being, the spiritual. This is a devotion, and a process. Interiors and buildings interest me. There is a parallel. Light comes into a place. There is depth. Many of the images are of places where I have lived and worked. The work is metaphorical. The ideas that come, seem to me to be a gift, and my job is to serve as a conduit for them, in reverence to the creative force. Those whom I love, those who affect me, are here in my work.