Hauser & Wirth presents its first solo exhibition with Christina Quarles this fall at its New York exhibition space, bringing together a body of new works that continue the artist’s own investigations into the human form, human identity, and their constructions amidst the art historical and within the modern discourse of American and world culture.
Known for the fragmented and polymorphous bodies that animate her canvases, Quarles’s fascination with expressing corporeality and its many complexities first took hold in a figure drawing class when she was twelve years old. Here, the artist has incorporated many unique elements from the natural world within her signature patterns and textures, achieving a new degree of spatial openness that expands upon her instinctual approach to figuration and richly layered visual vocabulary. Figures twist and writhe across their surfaces, partially obscured or moving between structures in a manner that their lilting, surreal figures almost seem to merge into the landscape itself.
Quarles seems to present bodies in flux both in the sense of identity and depiction, but equally so in the transformation from three-dimensional to two-dimensional character, the artist seems to use the limitations of the picture plane as a way to amplify these tensions. Visualizing what it feels like to live within a body while grappling with an excess of identities, she approaches the canvas with no predetermined composition, letting entangled arms and legs emerge spontaneously from memory, imagination, and improvisation.
The exhibition’s title, ‘In 24 Days tha Sun’ll Set at 7pm,’ refers to the time frame in which Quarles produced these paintings. Spanning the early months of 2022 through the final weeks of Summer, this body of work reflects the artist’s waxing and waning optimism across a tumultuous and transformative year. Much like the days whose light increases and decreases on either side of the seasons, the year began with growing potential for communal healing and social upheaval, yet it seems to be ending on a more tentative note.
The show closes October 29th.
– D. Creahan
Christina Quarles [Exhibition Site]