Christina Quarles' List of Firsts Spells the Start of Something Already Big
London, 18 August 2021
Christina Quarles, Casually Cruel (2018). Acrylic on canvas, 195.5 x 243.8 cm. Tate: Presented by Peter Dubens 2019. 
Christina Quarles, Casually Cruel (2018) (detail). Acrylic on canvas, 195.5 x 243.8 cm. Tate: Presented by Peter Dubens 2019. 
Christina Quarles, Yew Brought it Up (2018). Acrylic on canvas, 139.7 x 218.4 cm. Collection of Aishti Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon. 
Christina Quarles, Yew Brought it Up (2018) (detail). Acrylic on canvas, 139.7 x 218.4 cm. Collection of Aishti Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon. 
Christina Quarles, Sumday (We Gunna Rest On) Sunday (2019).  Acrylic on canvas, 182.9 x 243.8cm. Collection of Aishti Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon. 
Christina Quarles, Sumday (We Gunna Rest On) Sunday (2019) (detail).  Acrylic on canvas, 182.9 x 243.8cm. Collection of Aishti Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon. 

A lot of firsts for LA-based Christina Quarles this year. Having had her first solo exhibitions in major Asian and European museums—at X Museum in Beijing and at The Hepworth Wakefield in Yorkshire—Quarles work is currently the subject of a solo exhibition at South London Gallery, her first at a major London institution.

Speaking with Ocula Magazine earlier this year on the work in her solo exhibition concurrently running at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Quarles explained, 'It's always a back and forth between a memory of drawing the figure and then observing what I'm actually doing. This is echoed in communication, too: intent and then actuality. That's why moments like drips on the painting can determine the whole road I go down.'

Heading down to her show—entitled Christina Quarles: In Likeness—and walking amongst her large canvases brandished with her distinctive surreal bodies, of contorted limbs and free gestural brushstrokes, one understands the draw that these intriguing paintings are having on curators and collectors alike. ⁠⁠

With representation from the London-based Pilar Corrias, and more recently Hauser & Wirth, they'll be many an opportunity to see her work in the coming years.


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