New YorkLeah Guadagnoli: Love Lies Bleeding
Hollis Taggart presents Love Lies Bleeding, New York-based artist Leah Guadagnoli’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. Guadagnoli, who joined Hollis Taggart’s contemporary program in May 2020, is widely recognized for her distinctive three- dimensional wall-based constructions that seamlessly blend the vocabulary of painterly abstraction with the physicality of sculpture.
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Love Lies Bleeding captures Guadagnoli’s evolution from the hard-edged lines of architecture and kitschy patterns of ‘80s interiors that have long inspired her to more organic forms articulated in bold, bright fields of color. The transition marks an important expansion of the artist’s visual lexicon and a new freedom and openness in her practice.
Guadagnoli began her career as an abstract painter, shifting to a physical working of materials as a means of exploring more directly the opportunities in and relationships between color, line, form, and environmental influence. Painterly gesture has, however, remained an essential aspect of Guadagnoli’s process, and in her more recent works—produced over the past year—she has embraced a new fluidity and spontaneity. Working from the converted church in the Hudson Valley where she also lives, she has also more actively engaged with light. Thinking of her sculptural paintings in part as stained glass windows, she has accentuated the curves and transitions of her canvas wrapped forms through painting, creating sensations of shimmering light filtering from behind the surface planes.
These changes in Guadagnoli’s formal approaches and aesthetic considerations coincide with a challenging phase in her personal life. Facing a series of unexpected losses, Guadagnoli used both her garden and studio as a salve—as energizing sanctuaries where she could focus on the future and reflect on the past. Many of the works in the show are emotional articulations translated through the views into nature from her studio window—the flora and seasons changing quietly but meaningfully to bring new healing. In this way, the works in the exhibition serve as a visual diary in the evolution of both Guadagnoli’s work and life, with large-scale paintings made slowly and methodically early in this chapter and smaller works capturing an urgency of creation and revitalization in more recent months. Together, they communicate a sense of growth, change, and newfound joy through time.
Guadagnoli’s experiences in making what is in many ways a deeply intimate exhibition, also led her to its title: Love Lies Bleeding. The name is one given to an amaranth plant that has been a staple in gardens for centuries. “Love Lies Bleeding gained popularity during the Victorian age, when flowers were imbued with meanings, and a hand-picked bouquet could communicate a message without the need of explanation. In the Victorian language of flowers, Love Lies Bleeding represented hopelessness, or hopeless love,” said Guadagnoli. “I grew this plant right outside my studio. It felt appropriate, necessary even, for the emotion of this show, which I made in the process of loss, heartache, and recovery.”
Guadagnoli added, “Amaranthus also comes from the Greek word amarantos, which means unfading. This is equally meaningful to me. My spirit and art practice are resilient, and the opening of this exhibition is a celebration of growth and perseverance. I’ve entered a new chapter in my work that I can’t wait to share with the world.”
Leah Guadagnoli lives and works in Hillsdale, NY. She received her BFA in Painting and Art History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her MFA in Visual Arts at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Recent solo exhibitions include Asya Geisberg Gallery (New York, NY), Victori + Mo (Brooklyn, NY), Sadie Halie Projects (Minneapolis, MN), and 247365 (New York, NY). Recent group exhibitions include Cooke Latham Gallery (London, England), Hesse Flatow (New York, NY), Allouche Benias Gallery (Athens, Greece), Hollis Taggart Contemporary (New York, NY), Freight and Volume (New York, NY), Hashimoto Contemporary (San Francisco, CA), Ortega y Gasset (Brooklyn, NY), and White Columns (New York, NY). She has been an artist in residence at Yaddo (Saratoga Springs, NY), the Macedonia Institute (Chatham, NY), Wassaic (Wassaic, NY) and the Tilleard Projects Artist Residency (Lamu, Kenya). In 2017 she was awarded the Lighthouse Works Fellowship and in 2016 she received a full fellowship to attend Vermont Studio Center. She currently teaches Painting and Drawing at the University at Albany.
Courtesy of the artist and Hollis Taggart