Opening Reception: Saturday, April 9 from 3pm to 5pm
Join us this April for Ritual & Relief, Amy Guadagnoli’s second solo exhibition at Washington Printmakers Gallery. From the opening set of intimately scaled drawings to sweeping, totemic woodblock prints, Guadagnoli invites us to embrace color, form, and texture as a means to mental and emotional survival and transformation during unprecedented times of anxiety and loss.
“The works in this exhibit have been my lifeline during a dark time,” says Guadagnoli, “The act of making them reconnected me to the world.” Guadagnoli’s art explores how ambiguous forms coupled with detailed textures and jewel-colored surfaces spark multiple narratives that weave together the mundane and the mythical. In these works, the artist turns the lens inward, using the artmaking process as a tool for reframing the trauma of losing her spouse five weeks before the first pandemic lockdowns forced her into isolation, alone and mired in grief.
Exactly six months from the day of her spouse’s passing, Guadagnoli began the first of what she started calling her “ritual grief drawings.” Far from being gloomy, each drawing emerged beckoning her to continue to play with shape, color, form, and texture. The drawings were joyful—they transformed the dark, lonely days of that first pandemic summer as a widow. Guadagnoli says, “These ritual drawings pulled me back into my studio and back into life.”
Once back in her studio, she continued her work in “relief” prints—woodcuts. She used the repetitive practice of carving and printing reductively to reimagine images witnessed from her spouse’s six-year battle with cancer, as well as images depicting our collective losses and trauma due to the pandemic. She found the only way she could process so much suffering was by actively transforming the images into something powerful, organic, and otherworldly. After the past two and a half years, the artist acknowledges that what was familiar is forever lost and through each piece she asks the more pressing question, “Where is the vitality and joy in the unfamiliar?” The ritual of making art, both the drawings and relief prints, anchored her to each moment, helping her understand how, even completely cut off from one another, by distance, disease, isolation, and death, what we do with each minute matters—we all have agency and the power to connect.
About the Artist
Amy Guadagnoli studied printmaking at the University of Denver and has exhibited professionally since 1992. Her works have been shown in Colorado, Texas, Arizona, California, Maine, Maryland, Washington, DC, and Lima, Peru. Most recently, she received the DC Region’s 2021 “Wise Woman” award by the National Organization of Italian American Women (NOIAW). Her artworks reside in numerous private collections as well as the Montgomery County Works on Paper Collection and the collection of the Robert A. Facchina Italian American Museum of DC (IAMDC).
Washington Printmakers Gallery is located at 1641 Wisconsin Ave NW.