About the Artist

Gregory Grenon

One of the long-recognized artists in the Northwest, Gregory Grenon is known for his work as a colorist exploring the dynamic and expressive qualities of the people he paints. 

Gregory Grenon paints emotionally charged portraits in oil on glass. Strong dark lines set off his brilliantly hued compositions. Before encasing his paintings in found frames, mirrors, or windows, Grenon flips the glass around and thus presents the viewer with the reverse image. The result is a richly layered plain of tones across a pristine, luminous surface. Grenon’s subjects are primarily women expressing emotions ranging from vulnerability, sadness and apprehension to confidence, strength and resolve. Grenon’s paintings express a powerful range of emotions on his behalf. They also serve as a platform to remind viewers of the significance and powerful profile of women. As the artist explains, 'I want to feel the freedom (or lack of freedom) of being a woman…My paintings are me talking through women, speaking up for women.'

Grenon grew up in Detroit where he studied at the Center for Creative Studies. After a stint in Chicago, where he furthered his printmaking skills at Landfall Press, he moved to the Pacific Northwest in the late 1970s. Grenon's work has been exhibited in solo shows throughout the region as well as in New York, Chicago, Boston and New Orleans. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Oregon Arts Commission. His work is in numerous private and public collections including the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Willamette University, Salem, OR; the Portland Art Museum; the Seattle Art Museum; the Tacoma Art Museum; the Boise Art Museum; and New York Public Library. 

Gregory Grenon lives and works in Portland, Oregon. 

Artist Statement

Gregory Grenon

These paintings are not always pleasing but they confront you with their story. These paintings don't show you how to be, they show you what is there. They show you truth. They show you one second, one moment in time.

Women are the new heroes of the universe.  They have common sense as well as the power to act and alter history in the time we live in. Independent and free spiritual women can do things men cannot do.  Women are watchful and aloof.  They stand by themselves. They challenge you. They know everything. Women are powerful. Women have presence. They lead interesting lives. They are private. They are real although not always pleased. 

I work from hate.

I work from love.

I work from emotion.

These paintings are what I have to say about what I see.  All is eliminated here except myself and that is what I put into my work.

I paint in a great state of excitement. There is no commercialism here. Women have a beauty and power that men do not have and that is what I show in my work. I show that women are not inferior to men.  I want to show that these women refuse the influence of others.

When the picture that I paint looks the way it does, I am silent, it is silent, and no words are spoken here. 

I don't paint women as you want them to be.  And I don't paint women as they should be painted.  I simply paint women as they are.

— GREGORY GRENON