Charles Arnoldi is an internationally known artist who continues to surprise his followers with reinvention. Arnoldi moved from Ohio to California in 1964 and, after two weeks in a rigid illustration program, he left for California’s Chouinard Art Institute just before it revamped itself to become Cal Arts. Arnoldi has lived and worked in Venice Beach ever since in a loft area where he first moved in 1969 with Laddie John Dill and a handful of other young artists. Arnoldi was among the artists Frank Gehry celebrated in 2005 when he curated the exhibition West! Frank Gehry and the Artists of Venice Beach: 1962-1978 for the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, MN. In this, Charles Arnoldi and Laddie John Dill were among sixteen artists whom Gehry credits with influencing his early career.
Early on, Arnoldi challenged traditional art practices by using twigs and tree branches to create nests of lines, or “drawings” in space. Years later he began what may be his most famous series of chainsaw paintings in wood—colorful, jagged, reticulated, and rough. Still using bold shapes and colors, over the last decade he has returned to a more formal painting style and large abstract canvases. Color has remained central as he puts blocks of paint together architecturally.
Arnoldi’s long and distinguished career includes the Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of Art, New York (1981); Dokumenta 5 in Kassel, Germany (1972); and Harmony of Line and Color at Busan Metropolitan Art Museum, Busan, Korea (2002). His work is in museum collections all over the world, including Guggenheim Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain; Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art New York, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.