Christina Quarles's vibrant and textured paintings on view at South London Gallery

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Christina Quarles's vibrant and textured paintings on view at South London Gallery
Christina Quarles, Sumday (We Gunna Rest on) Sunday, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London. Photo: Evan Bedford.

LONDON.- American artist Christina Quarles (b. 1985) lives and works in Los Angeles. She creates surreal and deliberately ambiguous images of bodies that seem barely contained by the frame of the canvas. This display at the South London Gallery brings together Quarles’s vibrant and textured paintings, as well as works on paper, and is her first solo exhibition in a major London institution.

The figures in Quarles’s expressive, large-scale paintings are an embodiment of her own perspective on the world and she has described them as conveying ‘the experience of living in a body rather than looking at a body.’ Entwined bodies are set against abstracted environments, facial features are obscured and skin is rendered in a spectrum of shifting colour. The ways in which her painted bodies elude definition is a reflection of her own experience of being misread or misrepresented as a queer cis woman, born to a black father and white mother.

A selection of Quarles’s paintings including For a Flaw/ For a Fall/ For the End (2018) are on display in the SLG’s Main Gallery alongside a selection of the artist’s drawings. In these works on paper, fragments of text often taken from songs or poems intersect with bodies and reveal some of the literary, musical and autobiographical references that underpin her work.

This exhibition was organised by The Hepworth Wakefield.

Christina Quarles (b. 1985 Chicago, USA) currently lives and works in Los Angeles. She received an MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2016, and holds a BA from Hampshire College. Quarles was a 2016 participant at the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture and was the inaugural recipient of the 2019 Pérez Art Museum Miami Prize.

Recent exhibitions include: Christina Quarles, MCA Chicago (2021); Dance by tha Light of tha Moon, X Museum, Bejing (2021); I Won’t Fear Tumbling or Falling/If We’ll be Joined in Another World, Pilar Corrias, London (2020); But I Woke Jus’ Tha Same, Regen Projects, Los Angeles (2019); Always Brightest Before Tha Dusk, Pilar Corrias, London (2018); Christina Quarles / MATRIX 271, UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley (2018); Made in L.A., Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018); Trigger: Gender as a Tool and as a Weapon, New Museum, New York (2017-18); It’s Gunna Be All Right, Cause Baby, There Ain’t Nuthin’ Left, Skibum MacArthur, Los Angeles (2017); No burden as heavy, David Castillo Gallery, Miami (2017); Fictions, The Studio Museum, New York (2017); and Reconstitution, LAXART, Los Angeles (2017) among others.

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