Candida Alvarez

Alvarez's wide-ranging practice spans sculpture, collage, abstraction, and figuration, with materials ranging from fabric, acrylic paint, enamel, and PVC mesh. Her abstract paintings are imbued with both personal and formal aspects that evolve through her relationship to color, light, and architectural elements. When creating each image, Alvarez engages in what she calls “an active search,” exploring the world around her with unremitting curiosity, investing thoughtful attention into that which is often deemed ordinary. Her paintings begin with an underlying drawn structure that is then released as color is applied. Sometimes the structure is allowed to peek through with the linen on which the painting sits. The color is finally what holds the painting to the surface. 


Candida Alvarez (b.1955, New York, NY) lives and works in Baroda, MI. She received her MFA from the Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT (1997) and has been teaching painting at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago for 20 years. In 2017, Alvarez was commissioned by the City of Chicago to create a 200 foot-long, digital painting installed outdoors on the Riverwalk as part of the inaugural Year of Public Art; collaborated with international designer Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons 2017 Men’s Couture collection; had a 40-year retrospective at the Chicago Cultural Center curated by Terry R. Myers; and published her first monographic book Here: A Visual Reader. Recently her work was included in the inaugural La Trienial at El Museo del Barrio in New York (whose title Estamos Bien was inspired by an Alvarez painting), Latinx Abstraction at BRIC Arts in Brooklyn, and Z33 House for Contemporary Art, Design & Architecture in Belgium. The Art Institute of Chicago, Perez Art Museum Miami, and the MCA Chicago recently acquired her work. In 2022, her work will be included in the Art of the Caribbean Diaspora exhibition at the MCA and in No Existe un Mundo Poshuracán at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Recent awards and fellowships include the Helen Frankenthaler Award for painting in 2021 and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant in 2019.