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.
Gagosian is pleased to present Gemini, an exhibition of new paintings by Jennifer Guidi. This is her first exhibition with Gagosian in New York, following a 2018 exhibition, Heliocentric, at the gallery’s Hong Kong location.
Guidi’s radiant, mandala-like paintings are characterized by patterns and subtle textural and chromatic shifts, forging a connection with Minimalism while evoking metaphysical themes that transcend Western traditions. Her immersive compositions incorporate sand along with oil and acrylic paints to investigate color, light, and archetypal imagery. Beginning with an underpainting, she applies a thick layer of sand to the surface. While it is still wet, she makes marks with a wooden dowel in controlled and repetitive movements, often adding sand and paint in a U-shape on the top edge of the divots.
In Gemini—named for her own astrological sign—Guidi explores dualities: light and darkness, abstraction and figuration, science and mysticism. Viewers first encounter this focus in the twinned snakes of To Protect and Hold You Up (2019). Tracing links between cosmic and earthly forces, Guidi finds symmetry in opposition. In seven diptychs featuring triangular and circular canvases, the colors correspond to those of the chakras, a system of circular energy centers located in the body that inspires Guidi’s artistic and meditative practices alike.
Also on view are two horizontal landscapes—a sunset and a sunrise distinguished by Turneresque washes of light—and a triptych of bright yellow “painted universe mandalas.” The underpaintings of the latter works are covered with marks that emanate from a central focal point positioned on the canvas to correspond with where the heart is located in the human body. In other works, Guidi re-creates two systems of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century color theory: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s triangle in An Essential Order (Goethe) (2019) and Ignaz Schiffermüller’s color circle in Your Colors Are Eternal (Schiffermüller) (2019). These paintings interpret illustrations by the German literary titan and the Austrian naturalist that visualize their shared belief in the profound effects of color and its impact on human emotion and behavior. In connecting Goethe’s map of the human mind linking colors and feelings with Schiffermüller’s attempt to capture the colors produced by nature, Guidi unites “color, shape, nature, and philosophy.”
Deepening the connection between naturalism and scientific interpretation, and exploring further the idea that observable phenomena impact thought and action, are seven large paintings that veil bright color behind layers of black sand molded with radiating indentations. Close attention reveals that these paintings, monochromatic at first glance, incorporate bright underpainting and fine detail that establish a bond with Guidi’s chakra-inspired works. They also echo Goethe’s theory that black is not the absence of color, but rather a mingling of darkness and light that creates color. By alluding to the alignment of the seven colors of the spectrum with the seven chakras, Guidi suggests a relationship between Enlightenment science and Eastern spirituality.