Painting and Pedagogy: Tracing the Teaching Career of Candida Alvarez

Megan Kirby, School of the Art Institute of Chicago Magazine, March 21, 2023

When celebrated painter and School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) F.H. Sellers Professor in Painting Candida Alvarez was a little girl, she loved to stare at the stained-glass windows of her Brooklyn church.


Before she received any formal arts education, she absorbed the images from the Farragut public housing project where she grew up—Bible pictures, encyclopedias, family photographs, the view from her family's 14th floor apartment, and sunlight filtering through colored glass during Sunday service.


Witnessing Alvarez’s work—bright, large-scale abstract paintings with colors that seem to glow—makes it easy to connect back to her stained-glass memories. But when she sets up a projector to illuminate a studio wall, she thinks back to that church, too. “It’s almost like a stained glass window, when you’re in the dark and that light goes onto the wall. I love the way things that are familiar become disjointed,” she said. “I think everything is really an abstraction.”


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