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 Charles Arthur Arnoldi  (1946 - )

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Lived/Active: California/Ohio      Known for: abstract view paintings, prints and sculpture

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Ad Code: 2
Charles Arthur Arnoldi
from Auction House Records.
Hemlock, 1986
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
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.

Biography from Charles Cowles Gallery, Inc.:

1946 Dayton, OH

Los Angeles, CA

1968 Attended Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles

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

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

Biography from Edward Cella Art+Architecture:
Charles Arnoldi is widely recognized as a contemporary California artist known for his wood sculptures and brightly-colored, abstract paintings and prints.  He was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1946.  After moving to California, Arnold began attending Ventura Junior College as well as the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles.  He briefly attended the Art Center School in Los Angeles, where he was given a full scholarship.

Arnoldi quickly gained recognition in the 1970s and 1980s Los Angeles art world for his innovative tree branch paintings and wood sculptures.  Later, as he moved away from wood sculpture, he became more interested in color, and created a number of abstract collages and prints.

Arnoldi has exhibited widely including exhibitions at the James Corcoran Gallery in Los Angeles, (1980-1985), and the Arts Club of Chicago, Illinois (1986), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1983), the Brooklyn Museum (1986) and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (1992).

His pieces are held in the collections of the Chicago Art Institute, Chicago, Illinois; Guggenheim Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; National Gallery of Art, Sydney, Australia; 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; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California.

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