Leah Guadagnoli 

December, 2019 


This year you are showing work with Hollis Taggart, have you been to Miami for art fairs before?

Yes. My work has been in Miami twice since 2015, so this is the third time. I did NADA in 2015 and 2016. I love Miami, I feel like it is kind of what you let it to be.

Hollis Taggart booth at Untitled Miami. Photo credit Dan Bradica

How has your experience been as an artist in the mix of it all, or how do you view your work in the context of an art fair?

I think it’s a great opportunity for my work to be shown. People still say that the first time they saw my work was my first time doing NADA. That was a big jump into the art world here. I love it, but the stakes do seem higher because it’s only a week and you did all this work for something that’s only for a short period of time. But when you think about it, more people probably see it here than at a regular show in New York. Show anxiety is something I need to work on. 

Emerge From The Blush, 2019
Emerge from the Blush, 2019 55.75 x 36 x 3 inches acrylic, canvas, pumice stone, insulation board, upholstery foam, and aluminum panel

With the new work, there seems to be a shift in optimizing your own process. Could you explain how you are feeling about the new pieces?

The difference is that I normally paint all the shapes separately on stretched canvas and then I put them all together. But because these forms are more elaborate, that just didn’t make any sense because it wouldn’t fit. The 8th inch of paint around the edge might not fit, and I also wanted them to feel more like paintings than they had before. I painted them after I put them together before I painted the rest. It’s a little different in that when you go up to it, there’s some weird exchanges between the shapes. I think it makes them feel more alive and less static.

Normally there are a lot of straight edges and geometry that reference architecture like Art Deco or resort culture. 

I also have a garden now at my studio, so there’s a transformation you see in winter where everything is dead. And the watching everything grow again from nothing and having this obsession of watching the progress of my plants definitely made its way into this new work. There’s this chance element that’s a lot harder to evoke in the studio. It taught me a lot about failure in a really helpful way. This was my first garden and I’m actually making it double the size next year. It’s going to be intense, but I’m up for the challenge. Some things failed miserably despite me doing everything I could to make it work. In the studio, I feel I’m resilient against failure. I’m not someone who can just bust something out, it takes so long. Although sometimes I can bust shit out, like sometimes I make small work out of scraps from larger things. Those things tend to work out well, but I think you need both–something you can work on quickly and something you can work on slowly. That translates to gardening too.

Song to the Siren, 2019
Song to the Siren, 2019 54.5 x 38.25 x 2.5 inches acrylic, canvas, pumice stone, insulation board, upholstery foam, and aluminum panel

When you made this work, were you thinking about the space in Miami specifically?

Of course! I love having my work here because it feels like it just sort of belongs in this environment–which is strange. Knowing the environment they would go to live in, I feel like you can push the boundaries a little. You don’t really see people doing that in Miami–using that influence of the city’s Latin Art Deco architecture. That style is something I’m attracted to and it just so happens the work comes to Miami. It’s perfect.

Towards the Glow, Inside the Light, 2019
Towards the Glow, Inside the Light, 2019 53.5 x 37.5 x 1.5 inches acrylic, canvas, pumice stone, insulation board, upholstery foam, and aluminum panel
Booth at Hollis Taggert at Untitled, Miami. Photo credit Dan Bradica

Is there anything else you have coming up that you want to promote?

Hollis Taggart has a group show in Chelsea that I’m in. It’s called “Breaking the Frame.” That’s on now until January 4th. I’ve also got a group show at ParisTexasLA coming up, and I’ll be in another group show called “American Women” which will be a survey of American women artists at Allouche Benis gallery in Athens, Greece. And I have another three person show in London at Cooke Latham gallery this May!

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