Portfolio > Paul Rinaldi

Paul Rinaldi

Paul Rinaldi is a visual artist whose work has been widely exhibited at museums, galleries, and cultural centers in the United States, the Middle East, and Europe. Rinaldi's work is represented Perimeter Gallery in Chicago, and Circa Gallery in Minneapolis, and is included in numerous private, corporate and public collections. In 1988, Rinaldi received the Silvermine Guild Prize for Painting in the Art of the Northeast USA exhibition juried by Linda Shearer, Curator of Contemporary Art at New York's Museum of Modern Art. .

Rinaldi studied painting and art history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He received his MFA degree in 1988 from the City University of New York, Brooklyn College, where he studied with Philip Pearlstein, Allen D’Arcangelo, and Lee Bontecou. From 1991 through 1998 he lived in Egypt and taught painting & drawing at the American University in Cairo. Rinaldi currently lives outside of Chicago, and teaches at Prairie State College.

Artist Statement

For many years now, I have been guided by the notion that a work of art should convey a sense of time, place and human presence. More recently, I have been intrigued by the important role that memory can play in the creation of art. Memory is both personal and collective, a sacred space held deep within our souls. Though it is veiled by time, it is a place that can be visited for insight and inspiration.

Much of my artwork is, in a sense, abstracted from both the urban and rural environment—memories of form and color gleaned from walls, windows, machines, doors, shadows and streets, among other things. I am particularly intrigued by forms which, though once "perfect" in their man-made precision, have subsequently "fallen" into disrepair through age and neglect--"fallen" from the modern or postmodern into the primitive, carrying the wisdom of a long forgotten tale.

My paintings engage relationships of color, shape, composition and space to convey a variety of emotional complexes. They are very much process paintings, created through the buildup of many relatively thin applications of paint in which I develop, modify, and often wipeout successive layers of imagery. The layering of paint is like the layering of time—moments passing into days, then weeks, months and years—the immediacy of the present perpetually slipping into the past. As well, my painting process alludes to cycles of building and destruction inherent both in the unfolding of the human drama and in the workings of nature. The paintings at times contain the whispers of footsteps and fingerprints, enveloping fields and eroding structures, barriers and bridges, scarred walls,, resilient and transitional forms, emergence, growth, and decline.

Artist Statement: Encaustic

I’ve been making encaustic paintings, on and off, for 20 years, though for the past 3 years it has been my principle medium The word encaustic comes from Greek, and means to heat or burn in. Working with successive layers of molten wax, it is necessary to fuse the layers together with a heat source, such as a propane torch, or a heat gun. Beeswax serves as an ideal binder for pigment, and with proper care, encaustic paintings have an archival longevity that exceeds most other painting mediums.

The first encaustic paintings were produced in antiquity by the Greeks, yet among the earliest surviving examples are works dating from the 1rst century CE, produced in the desert oasis of Fayoum, Egypt. While teaching art in the 1990’s at the American University in Cairo, I came across many of the Fayoum “Portraits” that were created to preserve the identity of a deceased individual. These encaustic panels were originally placed over the head and wrapped in the mummy with cloth. While the portraits are somewhat stylized, they still preserved with remarkable likeness the particular features of individuals—a consideration vital to the ancient Egyptian death ritual as individuals passed through to the afterlife.

I make my own paints—a mixture of raw pigments and beeswax, together with small proportions of damar resin, carnauba, and microcrystalline waxes that impart a degree of flexibility and resilience to the surface. The greatest advantage of making the paint is that I control the pigment load, and thus can adjust the relative opacity or transparency of the medium. Once the wax is heated to a molten state, I brush the paint onto a panel and alternate between building layers, fusing with heat, scraping and carving with various tools, and refining the surface with solvents. Surfaces are often achieved by veiling strong color structures with translucent layers of wax. I like to explore the boundaries between painting and sculpture, and I try to create a dynamic relationship between the visual illusion and the physicality of the object.

While the visual forms in my work grow out of a vocabulary of subtle tension developed by Modernist artists such at Piet Mondrian, Ad Reinhart, Barnett Newman, and Agnes Martin, it also speaks to my affinity for antique religious icons, shrines, temples, mosques, and spaces of deep contemplation. I construct my images from memories of light, color, and space gleaned from these sorts of subjects. I very much like the idea that an artwork can function as a focus for human contemplation and reflection—that in some way, it can serve a gateway to both collective and individuated memory. To that end, I look to color to function as an indicator of place—sometimes particular and real, other times imagined.

I want to produce work that collapses time, work that fuses the geometry and structures of the modern and contemporary world with an ancient, almost mystical painting technique. The logic of geometric forms is in some way countered, tempered, or challenged by the sensuality of the wax medium and the organic fusion of color and light. Visually, I want my paintings to speak musically through a crafting of shape, color, line, surface, and space. I’m acutely aware of how these elements repeat and vary through the structure, creating emphasis, and shifting foci, syncopation and rhythm, visual harmony and contrast. At the same time, I’m every bit as interested in the cleansing role of emptiness—the pause, the silence, the waiting, the sense of expectation.

Selected Exhibitions
2019 Solo Exhibition, Gruen Galleries, Chicago, IL
2013 Solo Exhibition, Perimeter Gallery, Chicago, IL (1.11-2.25)
2012 Ariel’s Song: New Paintings by Paul Rinaldi, Circa Gallery, Minneapolis, MN (9.21-10.27) Something Sacred, Imogen Holloway Gallery, Saugerties, NY (November 2-December 2)
Tactile Encounters, Kemper Gallery, Paul V. Galvin Library, Illinois Institute of Technology 2011
Solo Exhibition, Perimeter Gallery, Chicago, IL
Fused, Black Cloud Gallery, Chicago, IL
New Encaustic Explorations, Noyes Cultural Arts Center, Evanston, IL
Summer Group Exhibition, Circa Gallery, Minneapolis
2010 Encaustic: Hot Art, The Art Center, Highland Park, IL
Summer Group Exhibition, Circa Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
Art Chicago, Perimeter Gallery, Chicago, IL
Brainstorm, Visual Arts Gallery, Governors State University, University Park, IL
Fused Chicago II, Gallery 537, Chicago, IL 2009:
Winter Show, Circa Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
Fused! Art & Wax in Chicago, Gallery 537, Chicago, IL
2008: The Drawing Show, Beverly Arts Center, Chicago, IL
Regional Faculty Exhibition, Visual Arts Gallery, Governors State University, University Park, IL
2007: Summer Show, Shimmery Gallery Munster, IN
2006: Group Exhibition, Perimeter Gallery, Chicago, IL
Intersections, Shimmery Gallery, Munster, IN (solo exhibition)
Group Exhibit, EXP Gallery, Chicago, IL
10th Anniversary Show, Christopher Art Gallery, Prairie State College, IL
2005: New in Chicago, Gwenda Jay Addington Gallery, Chicago, IL
3 x 5, CRN Exhibition Space, Chicago, IL
Emergence, Traveling group show: EXP Gallery (Chicago), Lincoln Land College (Jacksonville), Governors State University, IL, Prairie State College, IL
In House III, Christopher Art Gallery, Prairie State College, IL
2004: Halleluiah, Union Street Gallery, Chicago Heights, IL
2004 Regional Exhibition, Governors State University, IL
2003: Islands in a Stream Juried Exhibit, Union Street Gallery, Chicago Heights, IL
2003 Resident Exhibition, Union Street Gallery, IL
In House II, Christopher Gallery, Prairie State College, IL
2002: Hidden Memories (solo exhibition), Dorothea Thiel Gallery, South Suburban College, South Holland, IL
2002 Regional Exhibition, Governors State University, IL
Remembering the People of September 11th, Purdue North Central University, IN
Reflections: September 11th and Beyond, Christopher Gallery, PSC, IL
2001: Passage (solo exhibition), Tall Grass Art Gallery, Park Forest, IL
2000: Ten American Artists, (traveling exhibit) ▪ Case Museum, Jersey City, NJ ▪ Harkov, Ukraine ▪ Odessa Fine Arts Museum, Odessa ▪ Simpheropol Museum, Crimea ▪ Russian Museum of Decorative and Fine Arts, Moscow
2000 Regional Exhibition, Visual Arts Gallery, Governors State University, University Park, IL
1999: Annual Winter Exhibition, The Painting Center, Greene St., New York City
1998: The Seventh Seal (solo), Ragab Gallery, Giza, Egypt
1997: Nida Invitational Exhibit, Hanager Gallery, Cairo, Egypt
Rinaldi/Coash: New Works, Ewart Art Gallery, Cairo, Egypt
Sacred Spaces, Group Exhibition, Ragab Gallery, Cairo, Egypt
1996: New Paintings & Photographs (solo), O’Connor Gallery, Rosary College, River Forest, IL
Cairo Tapestry: An Installation of Drawings, Photographs and Video (solo), ARC Gallery, Chicago, IL 1995: New Paintings (solo), Lukacs Art Gallery, Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT
Works from the Collection of the American University in Cairo, Ewart Art Gallery, The American University in Cairo, Egypt
1994: Paul Rinaldi (solo), The Egyptian Center for International Cultural Cooperation, Cairo, Egypt
1993: Paul Rinaldi, Paintings and Photographs (solo), Center for the Arts, Akhnaton Gallery IV, Cairo, Egypt
Group Exhibition, Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery, Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT
1992: Recent Paintings & Photographs (solo), Ewart Art Gallery, AUC, Egypt
1990: New Paintings (solo), Tompkins Square Gallery, New York City
1989: Summer Group Exhibition, The Penson Gallery, New York City
1988: Paul Rinaldi New Works (solo), The Penson Gallery, New York City
New Paintings (solo), Merril Hall Gallery, New York University, New York City
M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition, Museum of the Borough of Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY
Art of the Northeast USA, Silvermine Guild, New Canaan, CT
Juror: Lowery Stokes Sims, Curator, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC
Barnum Juried Exhibition, Museum of Art, Science and Industry, Bridgeport, CT
Sheffield Art League Juried Exhibition, Sheffield, MA
Oak Room Juried Exhibition, Fairfield, CT
1987: Recent Paintings (solo), Merril Hall Gallery, New York University, New York City
Annual Juried '87, The Queens Museum, Queens, NY
Grümbacher Emerging Artist's Exhibition, Gregg Galleries, Gramercy Park, NYC
1986: Art of the Northeast USA, Silvermine Guild, New Canaan, CT
Springfield Art League Juried Exhibition, Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA
1985: Solo Exhibition, Tower Library, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
Oak Room Juried Exhibition, Fairfield, CT
Art Against Apartheid, Student Union Gallery, University of MA, Amherst

Mural Projects
2006: Garfield School, Chicago Hts., IL
2004/2005: Prairie State College, Chicago Hts., IL (30 murals)
2003: SouthStar Enterprises, Chicago Hts., IL (17 murals)
2004-05: Resident Artist, Union Street Gallery, Chicago Heights, IL
2003: Honorable Mention, Islands in a Stream, Union Street Gallery, Chicago Heights, IL (Juried by Ruth Crnkovich, Director, Vietnam Veterans Museum of Art, Chicago, IL)
1999: Resident Artist, Potash Artists Colony, Cummington, MA
1997/98 Grant for Photographic Research in Egypt, American University in Cairo
1994: Research Grant, American University in Cairo
1992: Resident Artist, Shona Artists Colony, Alexandria, Egypt
1988: Individual Artist Grant, Artists Space, New York City
1987/88: Graduate Fellowships, Brooklyn College, City University of New York
1986: Silvermine Guild Award (First-Prize in Painting), Art of the Northeast USA (Juried by Linda Shearer, Curator, Museum of Modern Art, NYC)

1986-1988: City University of New York, Brooklyn College M.F.A., Painting and Drawing
1988 Studied with Lee Bontecou, Philip Pearlstein, & Allan D'Arcangelo
1984-1986: University of Massachusetts, Amherst Graduate Studies in Art History and Painting
1980-1983: Fairfield University, B.A.,
1983 Post-Graduate Studies in Art
1983--Urbino, Italy Teaching and Related Experience
2000-present: Professor/Coordinator of Fine Arts, Prairie State College, Chicago Heights, IL
1999-2000: Adjunct Associate Professor of Art, New York Institute of Technology, NY, NY
1999-2000: Museum Registrar/Preparator, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY
1991-1998: Assistant Professor of Art. The American University in Cairo, Egypt
1989-90: Adjunct Professor of Art, Dowling College, Oakdale, NY
1987-88: Teaching Assistant: Drawing & Design, Brooklyn College, City University of New York
1985-86: Teaching Assistant, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
1983-84: Teacher, Peace Corps Volunteer, Fiji Service to the Profession
2005: Visiting Artist, Artist in Action, Greenbriar School, Chicago Hts., IL
Juror, 50th Annual Park Forest Art Fair
2003/04: Juror, Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce Art Fair, Homewood, IL
1998: Selection Committee Member, The Bi-national Fulbright Commission in Egypt
1996: External Referee, The Bi-national Fulbright Commission in Egypt