Artist: Chuck Arnoldi
Venue: Karma International, Los Angeles
Exhibition Title: Then and Now
Date: February 14 – June 1, 2019
Full gallery of images, press release, and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Karma International, Los Angeles
Karma International is thrilled to present Then and Now, Chuck Arnoldi’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. The show is tracing the artist’s entire oeuvre up until his most recent series. Then and Now explores the elements of nature, through detailed investigations of shape, color, and proportion. Arnoldi’s practice revolves around this examination of abstract visual language and moves between drawings, sculpture, printmaking and painting. Through continuous experimentation and a tireless work ethic, Arnoldi challenges the limits of these mediums.
Charles Arnoldi was born in 1946 in Dayton, Ohio and moved to California in the late 1960s where he attended Ventura College, Art Center, and Chouinard Art Institute. While in school, he received scholarships and numerous accolades from his professors for his technical drawing skill. Despite this, Arnoldi was disillusioned with the institutional rigidity and abandoned his formal education to complete his training through his own practice.
In 1972, Arnoldi was featured at Documenta V curated by Harald Szeemann with a work from his Stick Painting series. Within this series, the artist utilized burned tree branches he had gathered in Malibu after a fire, translating this charred wood into gestural marks on the wall. Following the success and notoriety Documenta V brought him, Arnoldi fell in with the “Cool School” of Los Angeles in the early 1970s, specifically in the Venice Beach art scene. Arnoldi was the one driving the Volkswagen Chris Burden was crucified upon for the infamous Trans-Fixed performance at Speedway Avenue in 1974. Around the same time, Arnoldi shared his studio with Billy Al Bengston and another studio with Frank Gehry on the Boardwalk, which lead him to designing the Indiana Triplex building where Dennis Hopper lived for years up until he passed away.
The current exhibition at Karma International samples the artist’s older bodies of work, including the Stick Paintings, Chainsaw action paintings, String Theory paintings and Potato sculptures to illustrate the foundation of Arnoldi’s practice. In his Potato sculptures, Arnoldi playfully explores the formal shape of this familiar food, casting them in bronze and investigating proportion and subject matter by making a variety of sizes in different presentations. For Arnoldi, these works are rooted in his life long pursuit of giving inanimate objects a life of their own. His most recent painting series is inspired by rock formations he saw in Machu Picchu. In their templative format, these paintings create dynamic arrangements between architecture, Modernist painting, and function as expressions of the artist’s observational intuition. This ethos of challenging the limits of materials and media has always been permeating Arnoldi’s career, both then and now.
Chuck Arnoldi’s works are in public collections such as The Art Institute of Chicago, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Menil Collection in Houston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art New York City, the National Gallery of Australia in Sydney, the Norton Simon Museum and many more.