Elisabetta Zangrandi: Paesaggio della Vita
December 11, 2021 – February 5, 2022
Andrew Edlin Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of recent paintings by self-taught Italian artist Elisabetta Zangrandi. From a young age Zangrandi has painted on any surface available to her – rocks, bottles, wood, plants. Inspired by her love of nature and the sweeping landscape visible from her home, her pictures are colorful worlds of fantasy, often involving princesses and fantastical creatures. Although dissociated from the professional art world, she has long admired the work of Italian Renaissance masters and French Impressionists.
Born in 1960, Zangrandi grew up in the city of Verona. She spent childhood summers in the Italian countryside with her maternal grandparents. Zangrandi says, “Nature has had a great role in my training, and ignited my curiosity. My grandfather, although a peasant, was very educated and was, in my opinion, a great artist. He sculpted birds in the trunks of trees and drew very well, besides being a good musician. My grandmother was an ethereal creature, beautiful and angelic.”
Zangrandi’s early and enduring love of nature informs not only her paintings’ subject matter, but also her materials. “Ever since I was a little girl, I loved painting, drawing and embroidering. For many years I painted on Lessinia limestone that I found while walking in the mountains. One winter afternoon, in November 2018, I finished painting the stones and had nothing to paint. I painted on a wooden board that a carpenter from a nearby village had given me. I painted a face of a princess, beautiful and elegant – an imaginary figure – and then I continued to paint on wood. Every afternoon I had to paint to feel complete.”
As Zangrandi’s work has evolved, she has experimented with larger panels and canvases. The works in Paesaggio della Vita include her largest, most ambitious landscapes to date. The intricate, layered compositions incorporate classical architectural elements with mystical creatures and figures, juxtaposed in multiple planes. Humans and animals intertwine and float in space in a manner that recalls the renowned Swiss outsider artist Hans Krüsi (1920-1995).
Zangrandi’s work has been included in solo and group exhibitions at James Barron Art (2018-2021), South Kent, CT; in Sexual Personae, curated by Alison Gingeras, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 2020; An Alternative Canon: Art Dealers Collecting Outsider Art, curated by Paul Laster, Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, 2020; Relishing the Raw: Contemporary Artists Collecting Outsider Art, curated by Paul Laster, Outsider Art Fair, New York, 2020; and in Andrew Edlin Gallery’s Summer Exhibition 2019. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Hyperallergic, Departures Magazine, and WhiteHot Magazine, among other publications. This exhibition is presented in collaboration with James Barron Art.