Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Letter to the Editor Julie Weitz with Angella d'Avignon
Don't Make
Everything Boring
Catherine Wagley
The Collaborative Art
World of Norm Laich
Matt Stromberg
Oddly Satisfying Art Travis Diehl
Made in L.A. 2018 Reviews Claire de Dobay Rifelj
Jennifer Remenchik
Aaron Horst
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring: Anna Sew Hoy, Guadalupe Rosales, and Shizu Saldamando
Claressinka Anderson
Photos: Joe Pugliese
Launch Party August 18, 2018
At Praz-Delavallade
Reviews It's Snowing in LA
at AA|LA
–Matthew Lax

Fiona Conner
at the MAK Center
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Show 2
at The Gallery @ Michael's
–Simone Krug

Deborah Roberts
at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
–Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi

Mimi Lauter
at Blum & Poe
–Jessica Simmons

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Math Bass
at Mary Boone
–Ashton Cooper

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Condo New York
–Laura Brown
Poetic Energies and
Radical Celebrations:
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Simone Krug
Interior States of the Art Travis Diehl
Perennial Bloom:
Florals in Feminism
and Across L.A.
Angella d'Avignon
The Mess We're In Catherine Wagley
Interview with
Christina Quarles
Ashton Cooper
Object Project
Featuring Suné Woods, Michelle Dizon,
and Yong Soon Min
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos: Jeff McLane
Launch Party May 19, 2018
at Karma International
Reviews Meleko Mokgosi
at The Fowler Museum at UCLA
-Jessica Simmons

Chris Kraus
at Chateau Shatto
- Aaron Horst

Ben Sanders
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- Matt Stromberg

iris yirei hsu
at the Women's Center
for Creative Work
- Hana Cohn

Harald Szeemann
at the Getty Research Institute
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Ali Prosch
at Bed and Breakfast
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Reena Spaulings
at Matthew Marks
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Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Museum as Selfie Station Matt Stromberg
Accessible as Humanly as Possible Catherine Wagley
On Laura Owens on Laura Owens Travis Diehl
Interview with Puppies Puppies Jonathan Griffin
Object Project Lindsay Preston Zappas, Jeff McLane
Launch Party
Reviews Dulce Dientes
at Rainbow in Spanish
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Adrián Villas Rojas
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Nevine Mahmoud
at M+B
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Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960- 1985
at the Hammer Museum
- Thomas Duncan

Hannah Greely and William T. Wiley
at Parker Gallery
- Keith J. Varadi

David Hockney
at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (L.A. in N.Y.)
- Ashton Cooper

Edgar Arceneaux
at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (L.A. in S.F.)
- Hana Cohn
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Barely Living with Art:
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Spaces in Los Angeles
Eli Diner
She Wanted Adventure:
Dwan, Butler, Mizuno, Copley
Catherine Wagley
The Languages of
All-Women Exhibitions
Lindsay Preston Zappas
L.A. Povera Travis Diehl
On Eclipses:
When Language
and Photography Fail
Jessica Simmons
Interview with
Hamza Walker
Julie Wietz
Reviews Cheyenne Julien
at Smart Objects

Paul Mpagi Sepuya
at team bungalow

Ravi Jackson
at Richard Telles

Tactility of Line
at Elevator Mondays

Trigger: Gender as a Tool as a Weapon
at the New Museum
(L.A. in N.Y.)
Launch Party November 18, 2017
at the Landing
Object Project
Featuring: Rosha Yaghmai,
Dianna Molzan, and Patrick Jackson
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos by Jeff McLane
Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA
Regen Projects
Ibid Gallery
One National Gay & Lesbian Archives and MOCA PDC
The Mistake Room
Luis De Jesus Gallery
the University Art Gallery at CSULB
the Autry Museum
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women on the Plinth Catherine Wagley
Us & Them, Now & Then:
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Travis Diehl
The Offerings of EJ Hill
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
Interview with Jenni Sorkin Carmen Winant
Letter to the Editor Lady Parts, Lady Arts
Launch Party August 19th at Blum and Poe
Object Project
Featuring: Rebecca Morris,
Linda Stark, Alex Olson
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos by Jeff McClane
Reviews Mark Bradford
at the Venice Biennale

Broken Language
at Shulamit Nazarian

Artists of Color
at the Underground Museum

Anthony Lepore & Michael Henry Hayden
at Del Vaz Projects


Analia Saban at
Sprueth Magers
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Kanye Westworld Travis Diehl
@richardhawkins01 Thomas Duncan
Support Structures:
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Catherine Wagley
Interview with
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Eliza Swann
Exquisite L.A.
taisha paggett
Ashley Hunt
Young Chung
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Letter to the Editor
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at Commonwealth and Council
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at Marc Foxx

Jennie Jieun Lee
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Trisha Baga
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Jimmie Durham
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Parallel City
at Ms. Barbers

Jason Rhodes
at Hauser & Wirth
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Catherine Wagley
Put on a Happy Face:
On Dynasty Handbag
Travis Diehl
The Limits of Animality:
Simone Forti at ISCP
(L.A. in N.Y.)
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
More Wound Than Ruin:
Evaluating the
"Human Condition"
Jessica Simmons
Launch Party February 18, 2017
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Exquisite L.A.
Brenna Youngblood
Todd Gray
Rafa Esparza
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Creature
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Sam Pulitzer & Peter Wachtler
at House of Gaga // Reena Spaulings Fine Art

Karl Haendel
at Susanne Vielmetter

Wolfgang Tillmans
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at Chateau Shatto

The Rat Bastard Protective Association
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Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Kenneth Tam
's Basement
Travis Diehl
The Female
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Catherine Wagley
The Rise
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Art Witch
Amanda Yates Garcia
Interview with
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Julie Weitz
Agnes Martin
Jessica Simmons
Launch Party Carla Issue 6
Exquisite L.A.
Analia Saban
Ry Rocklen
Sarah Cain
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Made in L.A. 2016
at The Hammer Museum

Doug Aitken
at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

at Tif Sigfrids

Jean-Pascal Flavian and Mika Tajima
at Kayne Griffin Corcoran

Mark A. Rodruigez
at Park View

The Weeping Line
Organized by Alter Space
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(S.F. in L.A.)
Letter form the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
at The Underground Museum
Catherine Wagley
The Art of Birth Carmen Winant
Escape from Bunker Hill
John Knight
Travis Diehl
Ed Boreal Speaks Benjamin Lord
Art Advice (from Men) Sarah Weber
Routine Pleasures
at the MAK Center
Jonathan Griffin
Launch Party Carla Issue 5
Exquisite L.A.
Fay Ray
John Baldessari
Claire Kennedy
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Revolution in the Making
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Carl Cheng
at Cherry and Martin

Joan Snyder
at Parrasch Heijnen Gallery

Elanor Antin
at Diane Rosenstein

Performing the Grid
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at Otis College of Art & Design

Laura Owens
at The Wattis Institute
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Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Moon, laub, and Love Catherine Wagley
Walk Artisanal Jonathan Griffin
Marva Marrow's
Inside the L.A. Artist
Anthony Pearson
Mystery Science Thater:
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Aaron Horst
Informal Feminisms Federica Bueti and Jan Verwoert
Marva Marrow Photographs
Lita Albuquerque
Launch Party Carla Issue 4
Interiors and Interiority:
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Char Jansen
Reviews L.A. Art Fairs

Material Art Fair, Mexico City

Rain Room

Evan Holloway
at David Kordansky Gallery

Histories of a Vanishing Present: A Prologue
at The Mistake Room

Carter Mull
at fused space
(L.A. in S.F.)

Awol Erizku
at FLAG Art Foundation
(L.A. in N.Y.)
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Le Louvre, Las Vegas Evan Moffitt
iPhones, Flesh,
and the Word:
at Arturo Bandini
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women Talking About Barney Catherine Wagley
Lingua Ignota:
Faith Wilding
at The Armory Center
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Benjamin Lord
A Conversation
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Char Jansen
How We Practice Carmen Winant
Launch Party Carla Issue 3
Share Your Piece
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Federica Bueti
Amanda Ross-Ho Photographs
Erik Frydenborg
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at Michael Thibault

Fred Tomaselli
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Trisha Donnelly
at Matthew Marks Gallery

Bradford Kessler
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Hot Tears Carmen Winant
Slow View:
Molly Larkey
Anna Breininger and Kate Whitlock
Americanicity's Paintings:
Orion Martin
at Favorite Goods
Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal
Layers of Leimert Park Catherine Wagley
Junkspace Junk Food:
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at Kaldi, Smart Objects,
White Cube, and
Château Shatto
Evan Moffitt
Melrose Hustle Keith Vaughn
Reviews Mary Ried Kelley
at The Hammer Museum

Tongues Untied
at MOCA Pacific Design Center

No Joke
at Tanya Leighton
(L.A. in Berlin)
Snap Reviews Martin Basher at Anat Ebgi
Body Parts I-V at ASHES ASHES
Eve Fowler at Mier Gallery
Matt Siegle at Park View
Max Maslansky Photographs
Monica Majoli
at the Tom of Finland Foundation
White Lee, Black Lee:
William Pope.L’s "Reenactor"
Travis Diehl
Dora Budor Interview Char Jensen
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Metaphysical L.A.
Travis Diehl
Art for Art’s Sake:
L.A. in the 1990s
Anthony Pearson
A Dialogue in Two
Synchronous Atmospheres
Erik Morse
with Alexandra Grant
at François Ghebaly
Jonathan Griffin
#studio #visit
with #devin #kenny
Mateo Tannatt
Jibade-Khalil Huffman
Launch Party Carla Issue 1
Slow View:
Discussion on One Work
Anna Breininger
with Julian Rogers
Reviews Pierre Huyghe

Mernet Larsen
at Various Small Fires

John Currin
at Gagosian, Beverly Hills

Pat O'Niell
at Cherry and Martin

A New Rhythm
at Park View

Unwatchable Scenes and
Other Unreliable Images...
at Public Fiction

Charles Gaines
at The Hammer Museum

Henry Taylor
at Blum & Poe/ Untitled
(L.A. in N.Y.)
ARTBOOK @ Hauser & Wirth
Baert Gallery
Cirrus Gallery
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Night Gallery
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A.G. Geiger
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Odd Ark LA
Oof Books
Smart Objects
Women's Center for Creative Work
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DXIX Projects
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Los Angeles Valley College
1301 PE
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California African American Museum
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Shoot the Lobster
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the Landing
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Visitor Welcome Center
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Blum & Poe
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Shulamit Nazarian
Steve Turner
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Various Small Fires
Gas Gallery

Hand and Rose
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CLOACA (San Fransisco)
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Et al. (San Francisco)
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fused space (San Francisco)
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Interface Gallery (Oakland)
Jessica Silverman (San Francisco)
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San Diego Art Institute (San Diego)
Verge Center for the Arts (Sacramento)
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Non CA
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Nationale (Portland, OR)
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Space 42 (Jacksonville, FL)
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Ulises (Philadelphia, PA)
Libraries/ Collections
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CalArts (Valencia, CA)
Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT)
Cranbrook Academy of Art (Bloomfield Hills, MI)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Research Library (Los Angeles, CA)
Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (Los Angeles, CA)
Marpha Foundation (Marpha, Nepal)
Maryland Institute College of Art, The Decker Library (Baltimore, MD)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library (New York, NY)
Midway Contemporary Art (Minneapolis, MN)
Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, Emerging Leaders of Arts (Santa Barbara, CA)
Northwest Nazarene University (Nampa, ID)
Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA)
Point Loma Nazarene University (San Diego, CA)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, John M. Flaxman Library (Chicago, IL)
Scholes Library, NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University (Alfred, NY)
Skowhegan Archives (New York, NY)
Sotheby’s Institute of Art (New York, NY)
Telfair Museum (Savannah, GA)
USC Fisher Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA)
Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Whitney Museum of American Art, Frances Mulhall Achilles Library (New York, NY)
Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

Interview with Christina Quarles

Christina Quarles, I Wake With Yew in Mourning (2017). Acrylic on canvas, 50 x 52 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and David Castillo Gallery, Miami.

I first encountered Christina’s work before she graduated from Yale in 2016 through friends who were also in the MFA program. I was immediately drawn to her chimerical thesis work, which included paintings of the brightly hued and bendy figures that have become her signature. We met later in a Skype studio visit at the end of 2017, shortly after the opening of Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon at the New Museum which included a stunning suite of her recent paintings. They manifested the expressive chutzpah of feminist painter predecessors like Mary Heillman, Sue Williams, and Joan Snyder, while also addressing the experience of living in her particular body. This spring, I called Quarles again from New York to chat more about her practice and her upcoming inclusion in Made in L.A. at the Hammer Museum in June.


Ashton Cooper: You’ll be in Made in L.A. in June. What are you planning for that?

Christina Quarles: It’s a piece very similar to my thesis work at Yale. When I was making that piece I was really interested in—and these are things I’m still interested in—framing devices, trompe-l’oeil tricks, surface, and shallow thresholds of information. The piece was an illusion of painted canvases on a wall, but it was actually a giant 20 foot tall by 8 foot wide panel of canvas that had blank areas that were taped off. When I did that installation, seeing pattern in space made me realize that you can tilt something that’s flat and see it in three dimensions and it is still flat and still emphasizes the surface. It took doing that installation to start doing the work that I’m doing now. So in this new installation I’m taking a patterned ground—which is this wallpaper that I’m making—and then having areas of blank canvas and negative space that can interrupt the figure.

AC: A critic in Artforum recently interpreted the bisection of the figures with planes as a kind of muted violence. Do you use the planes with a particular effect in mind?

CQ: With the work in general, I’m interested in depicting an experience of living in a body rather than looking at a body. I’m interested in finding different ways to explore my experience of certain identity positions that I’m familiar with. For me that’s about being queer and a cisgendered woman and also about my racial identity, being somebody who is half black and half white but who looks white. When thinking about race in particular, that’s where I see the planes serving a greater function for me.

I think a lot of the time we use solidarity and safe spaces to understand who we are. I’ve certainly been in situations, like say a space that’s been carved out for black female painters, in which I feel my most white and my most other from the community. Or when I’m in a group of people, which happens all the time in the art world, where everybody’s white—that’s when I feel the most like a person of color. So community and these moments that are supposed to make you feel your most whole are when I feel the most fractured. So I’ve been thinking about the planes as a visual way of describing that sense of place being also a site of displace.

I also think of them a lot in relation to the language that I use in the titling of the works. What I love about language is that it’s this stand in for something that isn’t there. In using plays on words you can have this multiple location in a single phrase and so I’m using pattern to also have that sense of a visual punning or double meaning. Like using a flower pattern that could be either something that’s manufactured or something that’s actually a natural occurrence of flowers in a field. I think of them as being quotations and misquotations of things that we see in our daily life.

AC: Your use of the word misquotation is interesting. In a lot of recent art, there has been a turn away from explicitly representing the marginalized body and trying to find formal methods to talk about the body without directly depicting it. This calls to mind Édouard Glissant’s proposition that people of color have the “right to be opaque.” It is interesting to think of misquotation in terms of an opaque reading of a symbol or a body. Does this feel related?

CQ: Yeah, for sure. I think a lot about the desires we have to be in a community. Having other people understand you is a lot of how you understand yourself. I think there is a lot of theoretical or political advantage to this notion of being an opaque person or refusing to have a stable legible self. Naming is always going to be a reductive thing. The full range of who you are actually contains so much contradiction. That’s a lot of what I’m interested in, this idea of ambiguity being this point of excess. Something that’s ambiguous is illegible because it has way too much information.

From a theoretical point of view, the state of ambiguity is very appealing because it refuses ideas of essentialism or the binary, all of those boogeymen of today. I think in reality it is quite intolerable to exist in an ambiguous state for very long because there is an undercurrent of wanting to be in a community. That’s the compromise that is interesting to me. I think a lot about this Joshua Gamson quote. He writes about how fixed identity positions can be used to marginalize groups of people but can also be used by marginalized groups of people to gain visibility and have a political platform on which to achieve civil rights. But I’m also interested in those times when you can exist as a fully complicated and contradictory person with another person.

AC: Like on an intimate scale?

CQ: Yeah, moments of intimacy. I think of it as being in the round. We operate as these flat, two-dimensional faces that don’t have bodies. It is interesting, these moments when we get to be in the round and know our fronts and our backs and all of the crazy messiness of being in a body. Those moments of intimacy are not always pleasant per se. It could be love or sex or it could also be moments of sickness or violence. Those are moments when you can be a fully realized complex person in a social situation.

AC: So when the work contains two figures, is it about acts of intimacy or pleasure? Even while the figures are ambiguous, it’s interesting to think about the way you deploy markers in the paintings. Quite frequently the figures have boobs, for instance. Do you ever think of them as two women together?

CQ: I often see them as being definitively one person or as being more of a movement like one or more people moving through time and space. Often if you were to add up the amount of torsos or legs or hands, it doesn’t quite ever add up to a definitive number of people. There’s always a little more or a little less of one body part. Even if it is with two bodies, I’ll see it as being an interaction with shadow or reflection. That’s the way that I see it. It’s interesting the amount of work the viewer will do to connect the dots, which I find really interesting in relation to my own daily experience and the body that I was born into. I’ll often find that people will ignore certain very present facts just to come to a more comfortable conclusion about who I am.

As far as the markers of gender, that’s another thing. Like I will almost always have boobs in the work. I like them because they are such a bodily thing; they’re such a marker of weight and of gravity. I’ll start off with a lot of body parts that I will eventually connect or leave disconnected. I take figure drawing classes all the time so I’m pulling from things I’ve seen in real life—like, oh yeah, that was that funny bony butt that one male model had or the rib cage that old man had. I see the gender and the references for different body parts moving just as much as the different painting techniques will change throughout the body.

AC: What does it mean to you to use a mix of techniques?

CQ: My background was in drawing before I went to grad school. It took me a long time to figure out how to change the scale and the impact of those drawings. At Yale, I had a studio visit with Rochelle Feinstein and she was like, “You know you should really try drawing with a brush.” I was really reluctant, but I did it and of course it was amazing. It made me realize that I could do the gestural line drawings I was doing, but by changing the tool, I suddenly had this wide variety of what a line could be. These different paint techniques also emphasize that it is just paint on canvas. I’m always interested in reminding the viewer that it is just a constructed visual space.

AC: Which artworks are major touchstones for you?

CQ: I find a lot of inspiration from language particularly—a combination of high and low language. I love Audre Lorde’s work, but I also really like Kanye West lyrics. I’m not super into looking at paintings as much anymore because I find the need to pick them apart and look into how they’re made. I still do really love gargantuan figures like David Hockney or Georgia O’Keeffe or Kerry James Marshall. I like to put little misquotes of them into the work. Also, I love living in Los Angeles because there are so many little homemade storefront signs or weird little dollar stores and tchotkes. I love looking at things like that rather than going to galleries lately.

Christina Quarles, Doubled Down (2017). Acrylic on canvas, 56 x 52 inches. Private Collection, NY. Image courtesy of the artist and David Castillo Gallery, Miami.

Christina Quarles, Small Offerings (2017). Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 60 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and David Castillo Gallery, Miami.

Christina Quarles, Plaid About Yew (2018). Acrylic on canvas, 50 x 40 inches. Courtesy of the Artist and Pilar Corrias, London. Photo: Andrea Rossetti.

Originally published in Carla issue 12.