Jennifer Guidi - New Now New York Tuesday, September 28, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Mesmerizing the viewer with repeating notes of red built up over the underlying canvas, Jennifer Guidi’s Untitled (Field SF #2F, Red and Lilac), 2015, creates an enveloping and immersive effect. The present work is a quintessential example of Guidi’s series of “dot paintings” that marked the beginning of her acclaimed abstract practice, setting the foundation for the multi-layered sand and pigment works that are so celebrated today.


    Guidi’s meticulously rendered abstractions are celebrated for their rich textures and carefully rhythmic constructions, a stark departure from her earlier work. Untitled (Field SF #2F, Red and Lilac) is the result of a decisive turning point in the artist’s career as she moved away from a figurative practice, then largely centered around depicting landscapes, plants, and insects, to painting in the abstract. This shift owes much to a decisive encounter with Moroccan weaving techniques Guidi came across on a trip to Marrakech in 2012; fascinated by the stitching hidden on the undersides of the local rugs, Guidi began imitating these patterns on paper, employing “mark making [as] a new way…to make an abstract painting.”1


    Detail of the present work

    Guidi’s interest in this meditative process resulted in a body of paintings, exemplified by the present work, that are laboriously built up with many strata of color. Appearing to simply feature intermittent streaks of red over a smooth ground of white paint, Untitled (Field SF #2F, Red and Lilac) is in fact constructed of many layers of pigment gradually built up and removed from the surface of the work in a herculean feat of focus and attentiveness. Guidi begins with a dense black background, applied with incredible generosity and care; this layer is blanketed by coats of white and lilac and achieves a unique textural effect as the artist scrapes off parts of the overlying layers to reveal remnants of the black foundation and linen weave beneath. Guidi adds as the final layer the repeating red marks, each no larger than an inch in length, that completely cover the vast area of the canvas. The resulting painting is painstakingly built up over numerous iterations of addition and subtraction, magnificent for its laboriousness, detail, and hypnotic effect. As Thomas Gebremedhin notes, “Upon initial survey, her finished works, each riddled with hundreds of markings that twist out from a central point to form a weblike pattern, seem like simple, ornamental designs. Longer viewing reveals each to be a sophisticated study in perception, demonstrating the shifts in visual understanding that can result from measured changes in color, light and texture.”2


    Untitled (Field SF #2F, Red and Lilac) is Guidi’s contribution to a storied legacy of process-driven abstract painters that includes Yayoi Kusama, Hilma af Klint, and Agnes Martin. Guidi’s paintings rightly demand comparison to Kusama’s Infinity Nets, and her work recalls Alma Woodsey Thomas’s dazzling constructions as the broken layers of overpainting dissolve to reveal the depths of color and texture below. Her work shares much with these antecedents not only in aesthetic terms, but also because of their shared intensity of focus; slowly building up the painted surface over time, Guidi champions a contemplative form of artmaking that entrances both painter and viewer alike.


    1 Bettina Korek, “SERIOUSLY GO: Jennifer Guidi at LAXART”, Huffpost, June 6, 2014, online
    2 Thomas Gebremedhin, “Jennifer Guidi Is One of the West Coast’s Rising Art Stars”, WSJ Magazine, August 16, 2017, online

    • Provenance

      Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      New York, Nathalie Karg Gallery, Jennifer Guidi: New Paintings, October 18–November 29, 2015


Untitled (Field SF #2F, Red and Lilac)

signed and dated "Jennifer Guidi 2015" on the reverse
oil on canvas
92 1/8 x 74 in. (234 x 188 cm)
Painted in 2015.

Full Cataloguing

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $151,200

Contact Specialist

Patrizia Koenig

Head of New Now Sale

212 940 1279

New Now

New York Auction 28 September 2021