Louise Guardia (1961-2015)
Louise’s paintings are like a diary. Each work tells a story from her life: the holidays, a visit to a museum or just her thoughts. Often the title offers a clear reference to the source of inspiration, such as ‘Alcohol museum’, ‘New York’ and ‘Experience it all in the Arse-nal’. Strikingly, the paintings that Louise makes are in memory of loved ones, such as the paintings about Chrispijn, a housemate who died, and about her mother Aleid.
In the paintings ‘Aleid’ and ‘Lijnbaan’, for example, Louise summons up memories of her mother. ‘Lijnbaan’ represents the Rotterdam shopping street where Louise regularly shopped with her parents. Amongst other things, she paints a shop window, a clothes rack, a clothes hanger, jewellery. At the very top, almost inconspicuously, is a small cross. ‘That is specially for Aleid. So I can think about [her] more.’
In the painting ‘Aleid’, Louise’s parental house on the Gijsinglaan is depicted. Through the walls we can look inside and see an enlarged display of all sorts of jewellery, which for Louise symbolise her mother. In the clouds above the roofs there is a small portrait of Aleid. ‘And here, around the house, are her arms. They are giving the house a cuddle’.
Throughout the years, Louise has brought a certain routine to her working methods. All her paintings originate in her sketch book, which she takes with her everywhere. She begins every drawing with a frame, in which the rest of the image is placed. This sketch, including the frame, is then transferred to canvas. She then fills it in, area by area, with various colours. The image grows at a steady pace. Finally, she outlines all the forms with another colour. Once the last line has been placed, then the work is finished. This working technique requires considerable patience and precision. With passion and discipline, Louise works for weeks and weeks on one painting.
Because of all the brightly coloured areas, the work initially appears to be an abstract mosaic. Yet every form has a meaning. In more recent work, Louise has painted a few areas in black, so that ‘the light colours surrounding them appear to be even lighter.’ In the canvas ‘New York’, in which a man in diving gear is depicted, the black has a second meaning too: ‘That’s because under the water it’s dark.’
Louise’s work contains considerable symbolism. The painting ‘The biography of Chrispijn’, for example, is a compilation of all sorts of memories of Louise’s dead house mate. The five disco lights in the bottom right-hand corner symbolise Chrispijn’s love of music. The little squares on the bottom left are the pebbles of the gravel path at the grave yard. The flames on the centre right, are the flames which illuminate the open hearth in their house. A candle, the stars in heaven and a cross are further depicted. In the centre there is a large heart. ‘That is the biography of Chrispijn: a sort of funeral with a heart on it.’ There are ten arrows sticking out of the heart. ‘Well, arrows are for remembrance, of course. That means that I think about Chrispijn. A lot of remembrance, exactly through the heart.’
1992 Zonder Omweg, Singer Museum, Laren
1993 Greenpeace printed one of her paintings on childrensweaters
1993 Hoarding painting Liège, Belgium, for international touring exhibition Project 12
1995 Participation international workshop and exhibition in Cirque des Variétés, Liège, Belgium
1994 Academic Hospital Leiden (catalogue)
1996 Solo exhibition in Gallery Dijkzigt, Rotterdam
1998 Study-tour United States concerning exhibition in Chuck Levitan Gallery, New York, USA
2002 Exhibition Unilever, Rotterdam
2002 “Die Welt: Innen Nach Aussen”, Hamburg, Germany
2003 “Bruut”, Gallery Herenplaats in co-operation with Showroom Mama, Rotterdam
2004 “Gewaagt”, Leiden
2006 Jubilee exhibition 15 years Herenplaats, Gallery Herenplaats
2007 “Helden”, (Heroes) groupsexhibition, Gallery Herenplaats, Rotterdam
2007 “Outsiderkunst van Herenplaats” (Outsiderart of the Herenplaats), GAIA museum, Randers, Denmark
2008 Exhibition in Niki Kurabu, Tokyo, Japan
2008 “Gewoon Bijzonder” (just special) Gallery de Boog, IJsselstein
2009 Rackstadtmusee, Arvika, Sweden, Outsider Art Biennale, “Art surrounded by legends and wilderness”.
2010 “Outsider Art Salon”, Gallery Herenplaats, Rotterdam
2011 Expositie Zorgcentrum Crimpenersteyn, Krimpen a/d IJssel
2011 “Derden”, Pand Paulus, Schiedam
2011 Aix Les Bains, France
2011 “Museum of Everything 4”, Londen, U.K.
2011 WTC- Schiphol, Amsterdam
Max E. Ammann Collection, Switzerland
1992 “Project 12”, Créahm, Liège, Belgium.
1992 “Zonder Omweg”, Singer Museum, Laren.
1994 Academic Hospital (Artbook), Leiden.
1998 “Zonder Omweg 2”, Singer Museum, Laren.
1992 Painting, printed on sweaters for Greenpeace