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Charles Arnoldi

(American, b.1946) is a painter, sculptor, and printmaker best known for his brightly colored, abstract paintings that incorporate the use of wood as an expressive medium, often using tree branches and twigs.


Born in Dayton, Ohio, Arnoldi attended Ventura College, the Art Center in Los Angeles, and the Chouinard Art Institute. Early on, he experimented with various painting techniques began integrating tree branches and twigs into his works. Arnoldi concentrated on his twig painting for nearly a decade, building different forms, including freestanding structures, sticks and string, and twigs attached in either densely packed or open shapes. 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 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. 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.


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.


Charles Arnoldi has established himself as one of the most prominent painters in the US and Europe. Arnoldi’s work resides in numerous collections and museums worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain.

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