Inspired by materials from her immediate world and everyday experiences, as well as her Puerto Rican heritage, artist Candida Alvarez (b. 1955 in Brooklyn, NY) utilizes personal knowledge to build magical dimensions and containers for visual form. For Monique Meloche Gallery's second presentation at Independent, Alvarez investigates the intrinsic desire for a method of communication that transcends the written word, a unique visual dialogue representative of her distinct viewpoint and history. This exhibition marks the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York since her 1992 show at the Bronx Museum.
These latest paintings are influenced by the durability and vibrant hues of Piero della Francesca's palette and her long-time muse, Puerto Rican impressionist Francisco Oller. With each of these 20 x 20 paintings, Alvarez dismantles the familiar to reveal a fusion of truth and fiction. Patterns on the floor, memories of her childhood, and photographs imbue Alvarez's personal narrative within each image, creating pictorial abstractions that shape-shift and dream-catch both light and space.
“My work stumbles through what I think of as chatty abstract spaces to reboot both light and space so that they can conjure shape shifting and dream catching. These investigations allow for my paintings and drawings to build abstract narrative structures that mix and remix themselves, interweaving the narrative with the pictorial. My aim is to expand the hybrid space of painting all the while maintaining a crucial connection to daily life.” – Candida Alvarez
Coinciding with her presentation at Independent, Alvarez’s first solo exhibition with Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago, Estoy Bien (through March 21) is represented in the booth by a single “Air Painting”. These works suspend carefully within aluminum frames, allowing the images to grow beyond conventional restrictions, presenting as dual-sided paintings. Light plays a crucial role; the use of a paper thin pvc mesh as a canvas allows for light to permeate each image, creating the sensation of color and form existing without boundary, as if each painting can live unrestricted, floating within space.
In addition to our concurrent exhibitions with Alvarez in New York and Chicago, we are proud to also celebrate the release of her much anticipated and comprehensive monograph, "Candida Alvarez: Here. A Visual Reader", published by Green Lantern Press. Contributors include Terry R. Myers (Curator of "Candida Alvarez: Here"), Dr. Kellie Jones (Columbia University, New York), and Elizabeth Alexander (President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation).
Candida Alvarez received her MFA from the Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT 1997. Her work is included in the collections of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Addison Gallery of American Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and El Museo del Barrio, New York City. Alvarez is a recipient of the 2019 Joan Mitchell Foundation, Painters & Sculptors Grant. She currently lives and works in Chicago, where she holds the F.H. Sellers Professorship in Painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.