Asya Geisberg Gallery is proud to present Angelina Gualdoni’s fifth solo exhibition, Verso della Terra. Prompted by the artist’s botanical investigations in her preceding show The Physic Garden, the current paintings plunge beneath the ground into the rhizosphere - the layer of soil where roots grow. Here, the rhizosphere and the mycelium - a network which extends underground among fungal colonies and trees - become metaphors for interconnectedness, a non-hierarchical structure with incredible potency to communicate, provide nutrients, and spur growth.
The title of the exhibition translates to looking “towards the ground.” Gualdoni forages in the greater NYC area and takes daily walks around her studio neighborhood, using the same sort of scanning vision to look for bottle caps on the sidewalk as chanterelles in the wild. The consistency of this gaze - slowly sweeping, always on the alert for an interruption, taking in the entire atmosphere versus hyper focused on one sightline - extends into the studio. Each work pairs an unknowable space of liquid-based painting with linear natural elements. Gualdoni renders sinuous movement of root systems by printing with painted strings, setting them within expansive areas that symbolize the inchoate, the uncontrollable, the illegible.
In the past several shows Gualdoni has expanded the poured paint characteristic of her process into staining, painting, and patterning from the back of the canvas. As the articulation of space works from back to front, the subject matter plays with the mirroring and weaving between above and below, ground and air, root support and plantlife above. Compost and decay bring forth life, as Gualdoni’s elegiac and luminous paintings remind us not just of the earth’s but our own mortality.
At times, Gualdoni works with the picture plane in innovative ways, by placing the viewer inside the rhizome, as if spliced in cross-section, to show all the activity in the decomposing and hidden world. Influenced by Cubism’s fracturing of space, the artist pushes depictions of space, with her imaginary world shifting our gaze to all parts of the work. Horizon lines move in and out, rather than staying fixed. The expected figure/ground relationship fails to point our way. Expansive stained or poured areas could be macro- or microcosms, suns illuminate paradoxically cloudy skies.
Gualdoni started her painting career with decaying malls and buildings falling apart into pure paint. Having painted through successive narrative threads while always keeping the pour as her mainstay, the idea of decay has now come back in an unintentionally circular path. Gualdoni challenges us to see the constant cycle of death as a realm of abundance and activity, with resonance for multiple audiences, and visual glory for all.