Angelina Gualdoni engages the complex legacy of modernism as it has played out in the visual arts and architecture during the second half of the twentieth century. Although her work is devoid of cynicism or polemics, Gualdoni is interested in the phenomenon of failed utopias. The disuse and collapse of the buildings that populate these canvases suggest meditations on the transience of life, or vanitas paintings for the early twenty-first century. The paintings draw upon a range of modernist sources that are given new meaning in their unlikely juxtapositions and, one might say, their gentle corruption. In Gualdoni’s hands, Le Corbusier-inspired modular buildings (which were carefully theorized to produce harmonious proportions) are afflicted with the indignities of old age. Morris Louis’s technique of staining, or pouring paint directly onto unprimed canvas (celebrated as disembodied, purely abstract color) is adapted by Gualdoni to create backgrounds for illusionistic lan dscapes.
The literal and metaphorical sense of ebb and flow in these paintings is a result of Gualdoni’s technique. She begins each painting by pouring diluted acrylic pigments directly onto raw canvas, which reveals both the texture of the underlying fabric and the often irregular paths taken by the paint as it flows, swirls, and clots on the surface. The direction the paint takes when it is poured and the degree to which it is absorbed into the canvas are variables that Gualdoni manipulates but cannot utterly control; rather, these are elements of chance she allows into the process. She notes that in much the same way that architects engage specific sites when designing buildings, her paint pours create a specific site upon which she builds the work.
Angelina Gualdoni holds a BFA in painting and installation from the Maryland College of Art in Baltimore and an MFA in painting from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her work has recently been exhibited at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Engholm Engelhorn Gallery in Vienna and the Museum De Paviljoens, Almere, in the Netherlands. Angelina Gualdoni is represented by Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago.
Currents 100: Angelina Gualdoni is part of a series of exhibitions featuring the work of contemporary artists at the Saint Louis Art Museum. The series is supported by the Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Endowment Fund, which supports the exhibition and acquisition of contemporary art at the Museum and the teaching principles of contemporary art at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, College and Graduate School of Art at Washington University. This exhibition is curated by Robin Clark, associate curator of contemporary art.
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