This summer, Los Angeles-based artist Christina Quarles will unveil new paintings and works on paper at Hauser & Wirth Menorca. ‘Come In From An Endless Place,’ her first exhibition in Spain, coincides with a major presentation at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin and follows her participation in last year’s celebrated exhibition ‘The Milk Of Dreams’ at the Venice Biennale.
Quarles’ critically acclaimed canvases and drawings display fragmented, polymorphous bodies embedded in rich, textural patterns – a singular approach to figuration, unique to the artist’s visual rhetoric and her fascination with the subject of bodily experience. Tangled arms and legs transform across her paintings, while perspectival planes bisect bodies, simultaneously grounding and dislocating them in space. In her initial approach to the canvas, Quarles begins by making marks that evolve into line drawings of human forms and body parts. She then photographs the work and uses Adobe Illustrator to draw the backgrounds and structures that ultimately surround the figures. In a reversal of the conventional layering of a composition, Quarles’ figures precede and even dictate the environment that they come to inhabit.
As a queer, cis-gendered woman born to a Black father and a white mother, Quarles has described her position of engagement with the world as ‘multiply situated,’ an experience of embodiment reflected in her sui generis art. The intersection of Quarles’ figures and planes analogize the imagined and prescribed boundaries of identity. ‘Fixed categories of identity can be used to marginalize but, paradoxically, can be used by the marginalized to gain visibility and political power,’ Quarles has said. ‘This paradox is the central focus of my practice.’ Vibrant magentas, blues, greens, and yellows serve not as a means of describing reality but as a way of actively resisting the viewer’s instinct to assign binary classifications to the figures such as male or female, white or Black, abstract or representational.
Image: Christina Quarles, (And Tell Me Today’s Not Today) (detail), 2023 © Christina Quarles. Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth, and Pilar Corrias, London. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen
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About the artist
Christina Quarles (b. 1985) is a Los Angeles-based artist, whose practice works to dismantle and question assumptions and ingrained beliefs surrounding identity and the human figure. Born in Chicago and raised by her mother in Los Angeles, Quarles took art classes from…Learn more