Candida Alvarez

Candida Alvarez creates mixed-media paintings that combine abstract and figurative elements in compositions infused with pop-cultural references—in the artist’s words, they are “like a worn dance floor.” From a very young age, Alvarez has been fascinated by the aesthetics of cartoons, kitsch, and the hand-crafted. During college, an introduction to African art inspired her to make figurative sculptures that could be touched and handled. This sense of tactile exploration carried over into later work in fabric, collage, and diptychs that attempt to link the divergent principles of life and painting, abstraction and representation. Her recent works often incorporate varied media, including oil and acrylic paint, pencil, enamel, galkyd, and fabric flowers on supports as diverse as cotton napkins and vellum. 

Alvarez received an MFA in painting from Yale University. She currently lives and works in Chicago, where she teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has had solo exhibitions at that city’s Hyde Part Art Center, Connecticut’s New Britain Museum of American Art, Kenyon College’s Gund Gallery in Gambier, Ohio, and the Queens Museum in New York. In 1986 she was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Film.