Angelina Gualdoni was born on 1977 in San Francisco, California, Lives and works in Chicago and New York. Angelina Gualdoni's richly nuanced paintings, six of which made up her impressive solo debut "Demo," explore notions of progress and decline by presenting images of utopian architecture in a state of ruin.
These works, all acrylic and oil on canvas, document the demolition of the Horizons pavilion, a theme ride and multimedia exposition based on conceptualizations of the future. Constructed in 1983 as part of Future World at Disney's Epcot Center in Orlando, it was destroyed in 1999 and later replaced by another tourist attraction. The pavilion, a circular steel-frame structure, is, for the artist, emblematic of the modernist faith in social transformation achieved through technological means. It is also a symbol of failed dreams, of a future that never came to pass. Yet Gualdoni sees something recuperative amid the rubble, as evinced by the formal and conceptual contradictions at play within each of her carefully articulated compositions. This idealistic edifice is depicted from slightly skewed vantage points that give the appearance of being both far and near, and in multiple stages of decomposition.
The mangled supports of a dilapidated structure are silhouetted against a chemical sky like wild brambles. Midway belongs to a series of recent works depicting a world in constant change, prey to mankind's malevolent inattentiveness. Abandoned buildings are eaten up by the ground on which they once proudly stood, subservient partners in a dialogue between the natural and man-made over which they have relinquished control. The role of chance is apparent in both the painting's subject matter and technique. Drips, spills and stains create a force of abstraction that threatens to engulf what remains of the representational imagery. Nocturne portrays an abandoned shopping mall in the American Midwest, found through the internet like those in Midway and The Slow Continuum, and visited by the artist in person. Unprofitable or subject to protracted legal dispute, they have been marginalised by society and neglected by all but the occasional pack of wild dogs or thrill-seeking adolescents. They are here presented as territories in limbo, modern ruins vulnerable to nature's entropic processes of recovery and repossession. Beneath a dark, threatening sky, trees and weeds surround and fill the buildings exerting strain on their physical structure, while a slick of poured paint seeps like bloody entrails into the foreground.
Praca dos Tres Poderes is a large, imposing square at the heart of Brasilia, the political capital of Brazil. Constructed between 1956 and 1960 to a design by visionary architect Oscar Niemeyer, and heralded as a landmark in contemporary urban planning, the city has come to be seen as a terrible utopian failure. Functionless, soul-numbing, and inhospitable to human trafffic, it today stands as a dated, retro icon, and a symbol of the death of Modernism itself. Gualdoni perfectly captures this emptiness, portraying a vast expanse of barren sky above the deserted pedestrian plaza, empty but for the discarded trolley of a popcorn vendor. The present, it is all too clear, is elsewhere, and the future is one of hushed uncertainty. Working from her own photographic documentation, Gualdoni depicts suburban architecture in a state of melancholy abandonment. Reclaimed by nature, the structures assume a life of their own as remnants of failure and unfulfilled expectation. In The Slow Continuum, weeds and young trees in the open concrete atrium of an elevated building are bathed in light from a momentary cloudbreak, evoking feelings of nostalgia and otherworldliness and hinting, perhaps, at the possibility of a more positive future to come. A similar sense of restrained but palpable emotion saturates those other works by the artist presented here.
Angelina Gualdoni's richly nuanced paintings, six of which made up her impressive solo debut "Demo," explore notions of progress and decline by presenting images of utopian architecture in a state of ruin.
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