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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. courtesy of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. photo: Jeff McLane

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 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.

 

For more information and art-making activities check out the resources below:

 

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 blue wall in an exhibition space of Vanessa McConnell's artworks at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. There are four floating shelves mounted to the wall, and on each shelf lies paint-covered ephemera, including paint brushes, cups, dishes, and mixing trays. In the center of the wall under one of the shelves is a light colored paint slpattered drop cloth, hung from a single hook draped against the wall and resting on the floor.

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

This is a color photograph of two walls in an exhibition of Vanessa McConnell's artworks at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. On the right white wall are seven brightly colored abstract paintings on paper by Vanessa McConnell. On the far right is a grouping of three, two featuring the use of yellow and green paint mounted one on top of the other on the left, and on the right a third painting featuring mostly blue and green paint. On the center of the left wall is a painting featuring primarily pink paint. On the right side of this wall is another grouping of three paintings, featuring mostly shades of red, yellow, and blue paint. On the right blue wall are four floating shelves containing a variety of paint-covered objects, including paintbrushes and various cups and dishes. In the center of the wall underneath one of the shelves is a paint splattered fabric drop cloth, draped on a single hook flowing down the wall and resting on the floor.

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

This is a color photograph of part of an exhibition of Vanessa McConnell's artworks at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. On the left wall are seven brightly colored abstract paintings on paper by Vanessa McConnell. On the far left is a painting featuring pink, yellow, and black paint in rough, dynamic brushstrokes. In the center of the wall are three paintings of equal size, consisting of various shades of blue, pink, purple, and green. On the right side of the wall are three small paintings grouped closely together in lighter shades of paint featuring mostly vertical brushstrokes. On the right wall is a single abstract painting on a piece of burlap featuring shades of blue, white, and green. Through an opening in this wall, two abstract paintings of roughly equal size can be seen on a wall in the distant background.

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

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.