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Vanessa McConnell
October 14—December 12, 2021

This is a color photograph of an exhibition room at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. The far left wall is painted blue and depicts an introductory wall text for Vanessa McConnell’s exhibition in white text over blue paint. To the left of this wall text is an untitled artwork, which is a dark colored apron hung flat on the wall covered in smears and splatters of bright colored paint. This artwork is installed on the blue portion of the wall. To the left of this is another artwork hung on the white portion of the wall. This artwork is an abstract painting by Vanessa McConnell, and is a circular, painted canvas with thick layers of pink and purple-colored paints. On the left adjoining wall is another artwork by the same artist, which is an abstract painting on the backside of a rectangular canvas with thick layers of paint in various colors, such as purple, pink, and green. This artwork has a hole in the middle of it.

Vanessa McConnell installation view, 2021. image courtesy of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. photo: Jeff McLane

The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG) presented the first institutional solo exhibition by Los Angeles artist Vanessa McConnell.


Vanessa McConnell’s exhibition presented a selection of recent paintings and works on paper characterized by their thick impasto surfaces and decisive brushstrokes. McConnell creates densely textured abstract compositions by adding multiple layers of acrylic paint, often working until her brush is too heavy with paint to be manipulated. The expressive nature of her mark-making, which sometimes leads to tears and rips in the paper, evinces the artist’s powerful compulsion to paint. The exhibition also featured a selection of ephemera generated by McConnell’s distinctive process, including a series of paint-drenched brushes and vessels from the studio, that have acquired a lacquered appearance over time.

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Special thank you to the Los Angeles Public Library for their generous support and time in developing this virtual tour.

  • This is a color photograph of a white gallery wall with four hung artworks by Vanessa McConnell. Each artwork is an abstract painting of roughly equal size. On the far left is a painting utilizing mostly white, pink, and red paint, applied thickly to the canvas in mostly vertical strokes. In the left center is a painting consisting of mostly blue shades of paint with some pink and red as well, applied thickly to the canvas. A separate irregularly shaped piece in a similar color scheme is hung directly underneath. In the right center is a painting consisting of various colors, including yellow, blue, and red in mostly vertical strokes. On the far right is a painting featuring thick, textured layers of pink and orange paint, which extends and stretches outward from the bottom of the canvas.
    Vanessa McConnell, installation view, 2021. courtesy of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. photo: Jeff McLane.

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