Lauren Rinaldi (b. 1983, Brooklyn, NY) is an American artist living and working in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She studied painting and drawing at Tyler School of Art, where she earned her BFA in 2006. Since then, her solo shows have included Representative (2020); Still Standing (2018); Hunger of the Cheeky Sisters (2015); At Arm’s Length (2014); and An Accidental Masterpiece (2011), all at Paradigm Gallery + Studio in Philadelphia and she has exhibited her work extensively in group shows throughout the United States. In 2012, Rinaldi completed The City of Philadelphia's Mural Arts Program's Training Program and has since worked on a number of public and private murals in the city. In addition to her active studio practice, Lauren is a mother, and is involved in local political organizing and volunteering.
Lauren Rinaldi makes work that lives in the space where objectification, female power, and empowerment intersect and blur. She uses oil paintings, mixed media drawings and sketches as her vehicles to explore ideas about intimacy, gaze, body-image, sexuality, and self-identity. She looks to the women in her life for inspiration and works to weave their experiences with her own, creating a shared narrative that celebrates women while acknowledging obstacles they often face. While Rinaldi’s portraits are often modeled after her own body, they communicate stories of universal importance in our contemporary moment. Rinaldi detaches the image from the self-portrait or any particular person, instead offering psychological representations that manifest societal pressures affecting woman and depicts their many deemed, often incongruent, roles and expectations.
When was the first time you felt like you were an artist?
I think maybe the first time I felt like I was an artist was when I was 16 years old and I learned how to stretch and prepare a canvas. When I rolled the canvas between my thumbs in the corners and folded it in and back before stapling, something inside of me clicked and I think I just knew I'd be doing that the rest of my life. It was almost like muscle memory, like my body already knew how to do it and I was coming home. The blank canvas still feels like I'm coming home, almost 25 years later.
What would you say is the underlying thread that connects your work?
The female body, the strength, joy, and sadness of womanhood, the intimacy of looking, the sensuality in the mundane, the distortion of a public vs a private moment, the blurry lines surrounding objectification, power, and empowerment.
What is the most satisfying part of your practice?
In a technical sense, the moment when I have a painting sketched out and a few colors loosely blocked in, that anticipation and the potential is so satisfying to me. In a broader sense, the most satisfying part is when someone connects with something I make and it resonates with them in some way, whether what they see in it is something I intended or not. I love that part, when the work isn't mine anymore and it becomes the viewer’s.
Tell us about a turning point in your artistic journey and/or career.
When I connected with Paradigm Gallery + Studio in Philadelphia in 2011. We've grown together so much and I'm grateful they've always given me the space and support to work through my creative processes over the years.
If you could show your work anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
That's a tough one... Maybe somewhere in Rome, so I have an excuse to visit again!