I make three-dimensional wall-based constructions that blend the vocabulary of painterly abstraction with the physicality of sculpture. Colorful reliefs reference life on the sly in chattering similitudes as they spiral like a squash blossom opening, a chicken nesting, a thought pinwheeling between connections.
My studio looks out onto one of my many gardens. Shapes snake towards the sun. Compositions reference leaves growing out of their enclosures, curl, and lilt between associative chains of meaning. The painted gradients suggest light and shadow. The allusions to organic and geometric forms are undeniable yet unspecific. This slippery referentiality stands in direct contrast with my work’s physical solidity.
The modulated surfaces are equally fluent in the language of architecture, vintage interiors, geometric abstraction, and fashion accessories. Compositions could be Baroque sconces, illuminated letterforms, or Formalist meditations, lacking a referent to fixed space. Abstraction operates less as dogmatic non-objectivity and more as the maintenance of space to assemble references without claiming them as subject matter.
Images are turned into furniture and activate sculptural nostalgia as domestic memory, allowing art to witness the life we live in front of it. There are parallels to Art Deco stained glass windows, with its clear stylization of natural forms and attempts to mimic the eﬀects of light using the striations and density of glass.
It is not irrelevant then that I live and work in a house that was once a church. There are mirrors everywhere. Mirrors cover the siding, losing the home in the exterior. The mirrors inside reflect the weather. The work in the studio, too, re-presents these reflections, the shards of my domestic life that, entangled, recall each other. But if this work is a window, it looks out over a scene remembered in my forms, echoing shapes of things that fill our eyes over time.
Leah Guadagnoli was born in Chicago in 1989 and lives and works in New York’s Hudson Valley. She received her BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and completed her MFA at Rutgers University. Guadagnoli was an artist in residence at Yaddo, the Macedonia Institute, Wassaic Project, and the Tilleard Projects Artist Residency in Lamu, Kenya. She was awarded the Lighthouse Works Fellowship and received a full fellowship to attend the Vermont Studio Center. Guadagnoli is dedicated to arts education and was a part-time lecturer at the Mason Gross School of Art in New Jersey, the founder of the Maple Terrace Artist Residency and Mentorship Program in Brooklyn, New York, and is currently an instructor of painting and drawing at SUNY Albany.
Guadagnoli has had solo presentations at Hollis Taggart, New York; Asya Geisberg, New York; Victori + Mo, Brooklyn, New York; and 247365, New York, among others. Recent group exhibitions include Jeff Marfa, Marfa, TX; Turley Gallery, Hudson, NY; Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Brooklyn, New York; Cooke Latham Gallery, London; White Columns, New York; and Allouche Benias Gallery, Athens, Greece. Her work has been reviewed by numerous publications such as the New York Times, Hyperallergic, Art F City, Cultured Magazine, and Architectural Digest. She was recently nominated for a Fountainhead Fellowship in Miami, FL, and showed at Art21 Shanghai with WeSpace. Guadagnoli has been represented by Hollis Taggart in New York, NY since April 2020.