Explore Relations of Light, Color, and Repetition through Louise Giovanelli’s Paintings

Grimm Gallery is presenting A Priori, the second solo show featuring Louise Giovanelli’s intricate painting style. Giovanelli dives into the relationship of light and color that interact and converse on the canvas surface. The show will be open through 9 January, 2021 at Grimm Amsterdam. 

Criss, 2020, Oil on Canvas, 43.5 x 33.5 cm, Courtesy of the Artist and GRIMM Amsterdam

Giovanelli is known for her interest in investigating the extent of possibilities that lay in the act of painting. She reimagines the way composition and imagery are interpreted, as she works with stills from stage performance and film. From small scale religious iconography, to the almost hyper realistic rendition of two golden shirts in a massive surface, the artist’s artistic approach to investigate the movement and effect of light, carries on throughout the collection of new paintings. 

Wager, 2020, Oil on Canvas, Diptych, 120 x 160 cm, Courtesy of the Artist and Grimm Gallery

Giovanelli’s skill lies in the ability to not only make apparent this new approach to film imagery, but to reimagine the previously made up realities into her own renditions of light and color. Take for instance the painting above. The two shimmering gold shirts set side by side encompass the artist’s meticulous approach to color and light. Looking closely at the paintings, viewers can experience the array of colors and shine, and could almost feel the softness of the silk.

Cameo, 2020, Oil on Canvas, 29.5 x 22 cm, Courtesy of the Artist and GRIMM Amsterdam

Across the gallery space, the pièce de resistance depicts full length stage curtains that construct both “space and atmosphere”. The dark tapestry (seen in the featured image above) acts as both the sponge and propeller of light. The heaviness of these green velvet curtains as well as their dense texture and substantial mass. The diptych highlights a clear representation of the artist’s approach to the canvas. The viewer feels drawn by the sizeable canvas, and engages in dialogue with what is presented and what could possibly hide behind those curtains. 

Host, 2020, Oil on Linen, 26.5 x 20.5 cm, Courtesy of the Artist and GRIMM Amsterdam

The smaller scale portraits interpret on a closer level concepts of subjecthood and the role of the viewer in imposing subjecthood upon the subject. We see, through the artist’s use of paint and application of light, a heightened form of presentation that in a way glorifies the portrait image. The subject’s facial expression demonstrates an ecstatic state that “is at once erotic, violent and blissful” which allows the viewer to travel throughout the limitless spectrum of human emotion. The viewer interacts with the small scale portraits and is able to see the artist’s playful interaction with the gaze, and how it’s used as a tool through the camera lens as well as through the brush over the canvas.

Criss, 2020, Oil on Canvas, 40 x 25 cm, Courtesy of the Artist and GRIMM Amsterdam

The artist demonstrates an interesting relationship with color. She explains her creative process as a careful layering of contrasting colors in the spectrum to generate the eventual desired color. Her interest lies in presenting color and texture in moments when they bend or break. Not only a master in producing texture, Giovanelli “prompts questions and speculation about the nature of observation, and the role of the viewer as the interpreter of meaning”. 

Mantle,  2020, Oil on Canvas, 200 x 150 cm, Courtesy of the Artist and GRIMM Amsterdam

In Criss, depicted above, the viewer is able to look into the artist’s interest and capability to illustrate folds and other interruptions in the flat surface. In the close-up of a house plant, is an evident example of the artist’s experimental approach to paint and coloration, and how she treats light to produce an additional dimension to an otherwise bi-dimensional surface. “The forms seem to dissolve into gems of light and color under scrutiny”. The result is a hypnotising array of movement and color that leaves the viewer in a state of absolute introspection.


Dyer, 2020, Oil on Canvas, 180 x 130 cm, Courtesy of the Artist and GRIMM Amsterdam

The silent yet powerful collection in A Priori is in all accounts a must-see show this season. Those in Amsterdam with the ability to visit should schedule their visit prior to attending. Inspect the dichotomy of light and color in an interaction revolving in power dynamics between the two. Also make sure to check out Louise Giovanelli’s website.

Installation View, A Priori, GRIMM Amsterdam, 2020