Los Angeles

Charles Arnoldi

Fred Hoffman Gallery

When Charles Arnoldi began exhibiting in the early ’70s, his work offered a delicately organic alternative to the high-gloss formalism that dominated current Los Angeles painting. While everyone was flexing their heads about flatness, surface, and edge, Arnoldi was making paintings out of tree branches. Debarking the branches, gluing them into rectangular formations, and painting them with various colors, Arnoldi coasted for over a decade, but, as so often happens with art-world innovations successful enough to become trademarks, Arnoldi wore the gesture out.

While adopting the conventions of generic abstraction, his paintings all employed either real sticks or painted marks that mimicked their scrambled hatchings, as if to perpetually remind viewers of his original invention. Fueled by a microthought about the real versus the representation, the “Volcano Log Jam” works of the late ’70s

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