Colors charge us externally and internally. I translate these colors into works every day. On an intuitive level, I am guided by the colors in nature.
Light and color pervade every aspect of Jennifer Guidi’s work. The Los Angeles artist’s radiant, mandala-like paintings are marked by tonal and chromatic shifts that operate in concert with richly textured surfaces. The effect echoes natural phenomena and undergirds a powerful archetypal symbolism. Guidi mixes sand into her paints—she uses both oils and acrylics—to produce immersive abstract compositions that borrow from the pared-down structures of Minimalism while evoking ancient theories of energy and perception.
Born in Redondo Beach, California, Guidi received a BFA from Boston University and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. On moving to Los Angeles, she was immediately struck by the city’s distinctive hazy light and blocky 1950s architecture. Basing her early paintings on her own photographs of local domestic interiors, she became increasingly interested in the colors and textures of her subjects’ walls. Following a 2012 visit to Morocco, she began to pursue a more abstract approach, drawing inspiration from the heavy stitching and irregular undersides of the country’s handmade rugs. She made her first abstract “dot paintings” that year, applying small dabs of white paint to black grounds.
Guidi began incorporating sand into her panels in 2013, using sticks found on the beach in Hawaii as simple mark-making tools. She then developed a system of underpainting in which she first applies a thick layer of sand to the surface of the canvas; while this is still wet, she makes marks with a dowel in controlled and repetitive movements, often adding sand and paint along the edges of the divots. The result of this intensely physical process is a hypnotic swirl of saturated color that is at once contemporary and timeless, prompting consideration of the diversity of cultural and corporeal meanings that have been assigned to shape and pattern.
Guidi also often explores visual manifestations of duality—light and darkness, abstraction and figuration, science and mysticism—finding symmetry and balance in seeming opposition. This is apparent even when her work returns to representational elements, as it does in the twinned serpentine canvases of To Protect and Hold You Up (2019). (Such imagery has appeared in Guidi’s work since 2013, when she produced a series of “snake stick” sculptures that reference the serpent as a symbol of rebirth and transformation, and sticks as totems of strength, healing, and magic.)
These diverse interests recur throughout Guidi’s oeuvre, suffused as it is with allusions to spirituality and the metaphysical, and drawing as it does on various practices originating in Eastern tradition. After watching Tibetan monks make a sand mandala, she moved from using horizon lines as the foundational element of her compositions to preferring a central focal point. She has also alluded to chakras (a system of corporeal energy centers with origins in early Hinduism) alongside Enlightenment color theory. Citing the influence of predecessors including Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Martin, and Hilma af Klint, Guidi makes work that also resonates with images and methods far beyond the Western art-historical narrative.
Twelve Tracks: Jennifer Guidi
Jennifer Guidi shares a selection of the music she listens to in the studio and speaks about its connection to her meditative painting process.
The artist speaks with Laura Fried about her most recent paintings, the symbol of the serpent, and her evolving relationship to color.
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2020
The Spring 2020 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #412 (2003) on its cover.
(RED) Auction 2018
Theaster Gates and Sir David Adjaye join Bono to spearhead (RED)’s third auction of contemporary art and design, raising funds for the global fight against AIDS. As Gagosian prepares the preview exhibition, Gillian Pistell looks at the urgency of this vital cause.
Art Basel Hong Kong 2022
May 27–29, 2022, booth 1C15
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel Hong Kong 2022 with an ensemble of contemporary works by international artists. The gallery’s presentation will feature works by artists including Georg Baselitz, Louise Bonnet, Edmund de Waal, Urs Fischer, Katharina Grosse, Mark Grotjahn, Jennifer Guidi, Simon Hantaï, Hao Liang, Damien Hirst, Thomas Houseago, Tetsuya Ishida, Alex Israel, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Rick Lowe, Takashi Murakami, Albert Oehlen, Nam June Paik, Giuseppe Penone, Rudolf Polanszky, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Jenny Saville, Jim Shaw, Rudolf Stingel, Spencer Sweeney, Rachel Whiteread, and Zeng Fanzhi.
Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Georg Baselitz; © Louise Bonnet; © Zeng Fanzhi; © 2019 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All rights reserved; © Rudolf Stingel. Photo: Martin Wong
Zona Maco 2022
February 9–13, 2022, booth B115
Centro Citibanamex, Mexico City
Gagosian is pleased to announce its return to Zona Maco México Arte Contemporáneo for the first time since 2018; significantly, this is also the gallery’s first in-person art fair of 2022. Gagosian is presenting a specially curated selection of dynamic paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by iconic figures long associated with the gallery, juxtaposed with works by key contemporary artists. Many of the featured artists are being represented at Zona Maco for the first time.
Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (November), 2020 (detail) © Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd.
Frieze London 2021
October 13–17, 2021, booth E3
Regent’s Park, London
Gagosian is pleased to announce a solo presentation of new works by Jennifer Guidi at Frieze London 2021. Titled Infinite Waves, it brings together nine paintings and nine works on paper that take inspiration from nature and the essential role it has played during the pandemic. Infinite Waves will be on view at the fair, and a selection of the works will be available online in the Frieze Viewing Room and on the Gagosian website.
Gagosian’s booth at Frieze London 2021, featuring Jennifer Guidi: Infinite Waves. Artwork © Jennifer Guidi. Photo: Lucy Dawkins
July 1–October 16, 2022
Long Museum West Bund, Shanghai
Full Moon—Jennifer Guidi’s first solo institutional exhibition in China—surveys the artist’s work to date and features a number of new paintings. The exhibition’s title emphasizes the cosmological and mystical roots of Guidi’s practice. Her abstract compositions refer to the natural world literally and visually as she mixes sand with paint to depict arresting natural and metaphysical phenomena.
Installation view, Jennifer Guidi: Full Moon, Long Museum West Bund, Shanghai, July 1–August 21, 2022. Artwork © Jennifer Guidi
Artists Inspired by Music
January 30–February 13, 2022
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
To mark the thirtieth anniversary of Interscope Records, the company invited artists to select albums and songs from Interscope’s groundbreaking catalogue and fostered exchanges between artists and musicians to generate resonant pairings. The exhibition, which includes more than fifty works, brings an intergenerational group of visual artists into dialogue with iconic musicians from the last three decades, providing a fresh perspective on influential music for the present moment. Work by John Currin, Jennifer Guidi, Damien Hirst, Titus Kaphar, Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, and Anna Weyant is included.
Jennifer Guidi, Seeking Hearts (Black MT, Pink Sand, Pink CS, Pink Ground), 2021 © Jennifer Guidi. Photo: Brica Wilcox
One Day at a Time
Manny Farber and Termite Art
October 14, 2018–March 11, 2019
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Inspired by American painter and film critic Manny Farber and his legendary underground essay “White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art” (1962), One Day at a Time: Manny Farber and Termite Art features approximately thirty artists and more than one hundred works of painting, sculpture, photography, film, video, and sound dating from the 1950s to the present. Work by Jennifer Guidi and Jonas Wood is included.
Jennifer Guidi, Eclipse (Painted Mandala Mountain SF #1A, Black Sand, Blue, Yellow, Purple, Red), 2017 © Jennifer Guidi
Generations Part 1
Female Artists in Dialogue
February 22–June 30, 2018
Sammlung Goetz, Munich
Sammlung Goetz celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2018 with a three-part exhibition dedicated to artistic creations by women. On display are nearly two hundred works by more than forty artists in an intergenerational dialogue. Generations Part 1 focuses on the appropriation of ordinary materials and practices rooted in advertising and design. Work by Ellen Gallagher, Katharina Grosse, and Jennifer Guidi is included.
Jennifer Guidi, Becoming the Mountain (Painted White Sand SF #1F, White and Yellow), 2016 © Jennifer Guidi