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Vanessa McConnell

August 6 – September 27, 2020
Opening reception: Sunday, August 2, 2 – 5 PM


The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery presents a solo exhibition by Vanessa McConnell, featuring a selection of recent paintings and works on paper. 


McConnell’s paintings are characterized by their thick impasto surfaces, intense colors and decisive brushstrokes. The artist experiments with a range of tones and techniques, including masking, acrylics and watercolors and, sometimes, found objects, often working on a single painting for months at a time. During her labor-intensive process, McConnell adds multiple layers of acrylic paint to develop densely textured and pigmented compositions. The bold aesthetic of McConnell’s work is also, in part, determined by the physical limits of her medium, as the artist continues to use her brushes until they are too heavy with paint to be manipulated. The dramatic, expressive nature of her mark-making, which sometimes leads to tears and rips in the paper, evinces the artist’s powerful compulsion to paint.


One particularly distinctive aspect of McConnell’s work has emerged as a result of her dynamic painting method, whereby thick drips of paint of paint accumulate at the base of her paintings. Occasionally, due to their own weight, these ridges break off to form striking sculptural objects in their own right. The exhibition will feature a selection of these objects as well as a number of other ephemera generated by the artist’s unique process. This includes a series of paintbrushes and vessels from McConnell’s studio that have acquired a lacquered appearance and become covered in several coats of acrylic paint through being in close proximity to the artist as she works.


Vanessa McConnell (b. 1960, Houston, TX, lives and works in Los Angeles, CA) began her practice at the Exceptional Children’s Foundation Art Centers in 1983 at the MLK studio in South Los Angeles, and now works from the ECF Art Center Westside studio located in Inglewood, CA. The ECF Art Center Westside is one of ECF’s five progressive art studios supporting adult artists with developmental disabilities.