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Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Nancy Grimes studied painting and drawing with Robert Barnes and Jerry Maddox at Indiana University in Bloomington.  Armed with a BA in Art and Art History, Grimes undertook a year of study at the University of Chicago, where she studied painting with Vera Clement and art history with Robert Rosenberg and Joshua Taylor.  Grimes found the MFA program at the U of C uncongenial, so she transferred to the Art Institute of Chicago in 1976.   There she studied with Ted Halkin and Martin Prekop and made the decision to focus on still life painting. 


Grimes decided to paint still life because she was interested in what objects mean and how they mean.  Her still lifes reconnect to the allegorical tradition of 17th C vanitas painting, but because they are also influenced by surrealism and metaphysical painting, they attempt to tease out and dramatize the metaphoric and symbolic meanings of objects and the relationships between them.  Her current work is more autobiographical and deals more specifically with relationships between people.


In 1980, Grimes moved to New York City and began writing art reviews for periodicals such as ARTnews and Art in America.  Her work was included in numerous group shows on the both the east and west coasts. She had solo shows in San Francisco, New Jersey and New York City. She has written numerous catalog essays as well as a book on the under- known painter, Jared French.  Her work was recently on view in New York City’s Van der Plas Gallery and the Mark Miller gallery. She currently teaches painting at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and lives in Astoria, Queens with her husband, William Grimes, and her four cats Bettina, Blaise, Olive and Smudge.


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