About The Artist
Charles Arnoldi has been making art for over forty years–he first achieved acclaim in the 1970s. Born in 1946 in Dayton, Ohio, he moved to California soon after high school. He spent some time studying at the Art Center School in Los Angeles (now the Art Center College of Design), then at the Chouinard Art Institute (which became the California Institute of the Arts). Arnoldi received immediate recognition–in 1969 he was a recipient of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Young Talent Award.
In his essay “Chuck Arnoldi: The Natural,” Dave Hickey positions the artist as the “the kid” (the younger one) among the famed set who set up shop in Venice Beach having fled “the banality of the American Middle West”– he’s in company with the likes of Ed Ruscha, Billy Al Bengston, and Joe Goode. “. . . even though Charles Arnoldi, today, is a mature and profoundly innovative artist at the zenith of a thirty-year career, to the Venice Beach artists with whom his life and career has always been associated, he is still ‘the kid’—. . . prone to spontaneous acts of profound innocence, generosity, enthusiasm and aesthetic impropriety. He shares with them a passion for the material world and a commitment to unflagging studio production; he shares their comfort level with the business of the art business and with the insouciance of California social life.”
Arnoldi experimented with various painting techniques–after collecting tree branches and observing them against the wall in his studio, he began to use branches and twigs to make up the lines within his paintings. He made different forms, some freestanding structures; some wall pieces made of branches, using string or tape, with some of the branches painted; and some colorful acrylic on canvas paintings composed of lines looking like twigs. According to Hickey: “Arnoldi’s sticks . . . bore with them no ‘homage to nature’ but rather homage to the fact that what nature aspires to and always fails to achieve—symmetry, right angles and straight lines— . . . [His sticks] were carefully chosen, exquisitely nuanced, meticulously joined and deftly composed according the argument of the eye.”
Later Arnoldi layered sheets of wood and used a chainsaw to cut them into shapes; or pieced heavy blocks of wood together and painted them, to mount on the wall. He also continued to paint various shapes–arcs, ellipses, and grids. His paintings today feature brightly colored blocks (still reminiscent of abstract “blocks” of wood) in oil on linen. Chuck Arnoldi participated in group exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. His work is in the public collections of the Chicago Art Institute, the Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, among many more.
“Charles Arnoldi: Biography." artnet. Artnet Worldwide Corporation, 2015. Web. 10 May 2015.
“Charles Arnoldi.” R.B. Stevenson Gallery. R.B. Stevenson Gallery, n.d. Web. 10 May 2015.
Flans, Robyn. “The Evolution of Charles Arnoldi.” The Malibu Times. Malibu Times, 12 January 2011. Web. 10 May 2015.
Hickey, Dave. “Chuck Arnoldi: The Natural." 2008. Charles Arnoldi. Charles Arnoldi Studio, 2015. Web. 10 May 2015.