Charles Arnoldi, American (1946 - )

Charles Arnoldi has become a popular California artist best known for his brightly-colored, abstract paintings that incorporate the use of wood as an expressive medium, often using tree branches and twigs. He lives in Malibu and has had considerable financial success and celebrity attention.

He was born in 1946 in Dayton, Ohio and never imagined himself having a career in art. By the age of eighteen, Arnoldi had turned his back on a destructive and abusive childhood and moved to Los Angeles, California. He arrived in Southern California in 1965 and spent two years at Ventura Junior College before receiving a full scholarship to the Art Center School in Los Angeles. He only lasted two weeks at his new school before becoming frustrated with limitations imposed upon him as an illustrator. He soon enrolled in the Chouinard Art Institute and gained immediate recognition for his skill when he received a Los Angeles County Museum of Art talent award. When the funding for his tuition ran out, Arnoldi was suddenly faced with having to establish himself as an artist outside of an academic environment.

He experimented with various painting techniques and struggled to find a solid interpretation of his artistic vision. One day he collected some tree branches with a friend from a nearby area, brought them home and positioned them against the wall inside his studio. He observed the pieces and found that they resembled hand-drawn lines. He began to use branches and twigs to make up the lines within his paintings, "building" a painting with them. His earliest works were almost primitive in their simplicity and shape, resembling woven stick baskets delicately balanced. Arnoldi concentrated on his twig painting for eight years constructing many different forms, freestanding structures, sticks and string, twigs taped together densely or openly.

In 1977, he had one of his small stick structures created in bronze. It was his first metal sculpture and he found that the metal gave permanence to his wooden structures. He continued to use sculpt with metal, often collecting scraps from the foundry, and appreciating their natural form.

In the 1980's color started to become more important to him and he used bright pigments to give even more definition to his three-dimensional pieces. He also started to paint on canvas, always reflecting the elements of his wood paintings. In 1980 he painted his interpretation of the logjam that occurred as a result of the Mt. St. Helens volcano eruption. He juxtaposed his earth-toned canvas against a similar painting created entirely of sticks, mimicking the image on the painted canvas.

He was constantly redefining his artistic approaches, and in the late 1980's started working with large plywood sheets. He glued the layered sheets together, deconstructed the piece using a chainsaw to cut jagged scars into the wood, and then painted it. The work that emerged during this period was fueled by emotional energy that developed from both personal tragedy and personal joy. His mother and brother had both died, but Arnoldi had also experienced the birth of his first child, a son. He was able to direct his intense feelings into his art, often with dynamic results. He was now involved in a new process of building up and tearing down. His ever-evolving style took yet another direction when he started using heavy blocks of wood brightly painted and mounted on the wall. He made a point of preserving the integrity of wood by not sanding away any exposed grain.

In the 1990's Arnoldi departed from the rigidity of his wood creations by painting on canvas. His paintings from this period are predominantly black and white and display free-flowing organic shapes like twists and loops with a sense of motion not seen before in his work. Arnoldi's work has been exhibited throughout his career in many solo and group shows. His first one-man show was at the Riko Mizuno Gallery in Los Angeles in 1971 and subsequent solo exhibitions followed at the James Corcoran Gallery in Los Angeles, (1980-1985), and the Arts Club of Chicago, Illinois (1986). His group exhibitions include the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1983), the Brooklyn Museum (1986) and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (1992).

Charles Arnoldi resides in Venice, California.
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The following is from the Charles Cowles Gallery:
CHARLES ARNOLDI

BORN:
1946 Dayton, OH
RESIDES:
Los Angeles, CA
EDUCATION:
1968 Attended Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles
AWARDS:
1969 Young Talent Award, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Contemporary Arts Council
1972 Wittkowsky Award, Art Institute of Chicago
1974 Artist Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts
1975 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship
1982 Maestro Fellowship, California Arts Council
Artist Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts

SELECTED ONE-PERSON EXHIBITIONS:
1971 Riko Mizuno Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1972 Texas Gallery, Houston, Texas
1974 Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1975 Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1976 Seattle Museum of Art, Seattle, Washington
1977 Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, California
Texas Gallery, Houston, Texas
1978 Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, California
Robert Elkon Gallery, New York, New York
1979 Texas Gallery, Houston, Texas
Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, California
Dobrick Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
Robert Elkon Gallery, New York, New York
1980 James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1981 Hansen-Fuller-Goldeen Gallery, San Francisco, California
Texas Gallery, Houston, Texas
James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1982 James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1983 Texas Gallery, Houston, Texas
James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1984 Unique Prints, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California *
James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1985 Fuller Goldeen Gallery, San Francisco, California
Thomas Babeor Gallery, La Jolla, California
Charles Cowles Gallery, New York, New York
James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1986 New City Editions, Venice, California
Charles Cowles Gallery, New York, New York
Pamela Auchincloss Gallery, Santa Barbara, California
Janie Beggs Gallery, Aspen, Colorado
Recent Paintings, University of Missouri, Kansas City Gallery of Art, Kansas City,
Missouri *
A Survey: 1971-1986, Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois *
1987 Fuller Goldeen Gallery, San Francisco, California
James Corcoran Gallery, Santa Monica, California
Ochi Gallery, Boise, Idaho
Texas Gallery, Houston, Texas
Just Bronze, University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach, California
Charles Cowles Gallery, New York, New York
1988 Klein Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
Richard Green Gallery, Los Angeles, California
Painting and Sculpture,1971-1988, MuseoItaloAmericano, San Francisco, California*
Sena Galleries West, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1989 James Corcoran Gallery, Santa Monica, California
Recent Monotypes from the Garner Tullis Workshop, Pamela Auchincloss Gallery, New
York, New York *
Ochi Gallery, Sun Valley, Idaho
1990 Flanders Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, Louisiana
Michael Dunev Gallery, San Francisco, California
Malmgran Gallery, Goteborg, Sweden
Sena Galleries West, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1991 Gallery Kuranuki, Osaka, Japan *
Oil Paintings on Canvas, Cast Bronze Sculptures, Fred Hoffman Gallery, Santa Monica,
California
Ochi Gallery, Ketchum, Idaho
1992 Paintings, Sculpture, and Works on Paper, Klein Art Works, Chicago, Illinois
The Works Gallery South, Costa Mesa, California
1993 Charles Cowles Gallery, New York, New York
Ochi Gallery, Ketchum, Idaho
Hampton, Venice, California
Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans, Louisiana
1994 Charles Cowles Gallery, New York, New York *
Ochi Gallery, Ketchum, Idaho
Klein Art Works, Chicago, Illinois
1995 Peter Blake Gallery, Laguna Beach, California
1996 A Mid-Career Survey:1970-1996, Fred Hoffman Fine Art, Santa Monica, California *
Works on Paper: Gouaches and Monotypes, Ochi Gallery, Ketchum, Idaho
New Work, Imago Galleries, Palm Desert, California
New Monotypes, Charles Cowles Gallery, New York, New York
1997 New Paintings, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York, New York
New Work, Flanders Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Monotypes: A Survey 1987-1996, Flanders Graphics, Minneapolis, Minnesota
1998 New Works, Parchman Stremmel Galleries, San Antonio, TX
1999 New Works, Chac-Mool Contemporary Fine Art, West Hollywood, CA
Painting and Sculpture, Ochi Fine Art, Ketchum, ID
Recent Works, Charles Cowles Gallery, New York, NY
2000 New Paintings, Skidmore Contemporary Art, Malibu, CA
Paintings, Ochi Fine Art, Ketchum, ID

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS:
Arthur Anderson, Chicago, Illinois
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
Bank of America, San Francisco, California
Chase Manhattan Bank, New York, New York
Chicago Art Institute, Chicago, Illinois
The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii
Continental National Bank, Fort Worth, Texas
Dellen Publishing, Santa Clara, California
Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado
First International Bank, Houston, Texas
First Interstate Bank, Las Vegas, Nevada
Frito-Lay, Dallas, Texas
Guggenheim Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain
Hallmark Cards, Kansas City, Missouri
JMB Reality, Chicago, Illinois
Hughes Corporation, Los Angeles, California
Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis, Missouri
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
Menil Foundation, Houston, Texas
Memphis Brooks Museum, Memphis, Tennessee
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York
National Gallery of Art, Sydney, Australia
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri
The Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey
The Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA
Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California
Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, California
Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon
Rayovac Corporation, Madison, Wisconsin
San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington
Security Pacific National Bank, Los Angeles, California
Southland Corporation, Dallas, Texas
Southwestern Bell, St. Louis, Missouri
J.B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky
United Energy Resources, Houston, Texas
Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles, California

 

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