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Jennifer Guidi: Sensory Aestheticism at its finest


By Louise Oliphant, Contemporary Art BA (Hons), International Journalism MA


Not just an inspiration for Labeca London, but now valued by many art lovers, Jennifer Guidi seems to have dominated the art market with a trove of transcendent aestheticism. This Californian born and based painter undoubtedly foregrounds sand not just as a medium but as an architectural decision.


By mixing sand into paint, texture and mark-making becomes both materially and conceptually representative of a place by the sea. If the beach is anything, it is a place defined by its unworldly association of relaxation. So, whilst the sand dune-like landscapes visually encapsulate these paintings, it is Guidi’s ability to provoke sensation and feeling that defines her as a ‘must-have market darling’. Aestheticism thus becomes innate to the artworks of Jennifer Guidi. Although it may have been thought of as a movement of the past, our humanly instinct for spirituality and beauty is one that continues to appreciate art for art’s sake – or in this case it’s sensual qualities. It’s feminine resonance to delicacy and serenity seem to inform these pieces even more so.


In the morning I watch you rise (Painted light pink, grey sand SF#2F, yellow orange, pink and lavender), 2017, as part of the exhibition collection ‘Jennifer Guidi: San Fernando’ proves exemplary of this with its combination of a rich blush colour palette with small repeated textured shapes that are almost pointillist in practice. The paradoxical pairing of soft ombres of colour with swirling mandala like indents further create an optical illusion type of movement. Yet not overwhelming like one would expect, rather the compositional approach that brings no focal point the painting only adds to its sculptural luminosity. It is inviting, where upon closer inspection we realise the impression marks are painted the darkest colour, intensifying the textured surface; a technique resonating to that of artmaking across western and non-western parameters. And whilst the exhibition title infers a site-specific reference to Californian contexts, the representational arrangement of colour, texture and shapes attends an instinctual correlation to any backdrop, whether that be in the mind or reality. As though pores on a face, the skin of a reptile or as most appropriately the marks in sand dune or desert, there is no escaping the physical likeness to that of the natural world. Or a reflection of energy perhaps? What is it about natural phenomena and its biological beauty that encapsulates not just the eye but the mind, especially when it is not natural? Ironically but wonderfully, with man-made artistry, Guidi seems to capture just that, the very spirituality that leaves us in awe.