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  • "Nobody knows you better than you know yourself, but you’re always fragmented, even to yourself. You know the continuum of yourself as well as a lack of continuity, because you’ve experienced yourself in so many different situations." —Christina Quarles

    Painted the same year Christina Quarles completed her MFA program at Yale University, Tuckt, 2016, demonstrates the sharp focus and technical skill that garnered her immediate success. Only one year after her graduation, Quarles’s work was exhibited in group exhibitions at the New Museum, New York and the Studio Museum, Harlem, where it received critical acclaim. Today, with established recognition from global institutions, Quarles will be the subject of a major solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in 2021, which will be the largest presentation of her work to date.


    In Tuckt, Quarles paints two, gray-toned figures against an ambiguous background constructed from thick blue strips of impasto and [AD1]an isolated window. The frontal figure bends over on all fours and arches towards a set of dotted pink sheets, while beside them, another figure sweeps forward in an identical pose. Although Quarles has contoured these genderless bodies with thin whisps of red pigment, once the viewer’s eye traces the hips of the subjects, the two once-distinct figures fuse into a single being where it becomes impossible to determine the point of separation. It is this fragmentation of perception and imperceptibility of identity that uniquely characterizes Quarles’s vivid paintings as well as her lived experiences.

     

    Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon, 2017. Exhibition View: New Museum. Photo: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio, Artwork © 2020 Christina Quarles
    Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon, 2017. Exhibition View: New Museum. Photo: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio, Artwork © 2020 Christina Quarles

    Expression of Identity


    Through her practice, Quarles brings her own multifaceted positions on race and sexuality to the forefront. Born to a Black father and a white mother, Quarles has moved through several spaces where her own Black heritage has become illegible. Her outward appearance resists the immediate and constrained classification that race encourages, and this schism between what she believes of her own identity and how others perceive her has evolved into a conflict that she readily explores in her oeuvre. As a result, Quarles defies a limited categorization and expertly utilizes a varied visual lexicon. In Tuckt, her gestural brushstrokes evoke the memory of abstract expressionism while the severing of context and dislocation of a preconceived logic recalls the more radical aspects of surrealism.


    Quarles’s identification as a queer woman also plays a prominent role in her work, as many of her paintings highlight the erotic nature of abstraction. The indeterminate appearance of the body (or bodies) represented in Tuckt, is akin to the amorphous figure presented in Francis Bacon’s Lying Figure, 1969. In Lying Figure, Bacon portrays a nude, contorted figure who rests within an unspecified room underneath the skewed halo of a lightbulb. For both artists, this disruption of time and space and its ability to transform the familiar is key to a painting’s success.

     

    Francis Bacon, Lying Figure, 1969 (CR-69-03). Fondation Beyeler, Riehen / Basel, Artwork © 2020 Estate of Francis Bacon / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London
    Francis Bacon, Lying Figure, 1969 (CR-69-03). Fondation Beyeler, Riehen / Basel, Artwork © 2020 Estate of Francis Bacon / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London

    Collectors Digest

     

    Concurrent Institutional Show:

     

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Christina Quarles, April 17, 2021 - August 29, 2021

    • Provenance

      Private Collection (acquired directly from the artist)
      Hauser & Wirth
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Artist Biography

      Christina Quarles

      As a queer woman born to a black father and a white mother, Christina Quarles has developed a worldview defined by multiplicity. Often misrepresented as a white woman in life, Quarles creates work that confronts ideas of race, gender, and queerness. The highly expressive human forms of Quarles’s paintings hover between figuration and abstraction, paradoxically occupying both spaces at once. By incorporating the contradictions of identity into her painting, Quarles has developed an art form defined by energized formal inventiveness and semi-pictorial abstraction that has been likened to the early work of Arshile Gorky and Willem de Kooning, breathing new life into the historical legacies of their work.  

      Quarles was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1985 and was raised in Los Angeles, California. She completed her BA at Hampshire College in 2007 and earned her MFA at Yale University in 2016. Today, Quarles lives and works in Los Angeles with her wife.  

       
      View More Works

402

Tuckt

signed, titled and dated "Christina Quarles CHRISTINA QUARLES 2016 "TUCKT"" on the overlap
acrylic on canvas
32 x 48 in. (81.3 x 121.9 cm)
Painted in 2016.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
$70,000 - 100,000 

Sold for $655,200

Contact Specialist

Rebekah Bowling
Head of Day Sale, Afternoon Session
New York

1 212 940 1250
[email protected]

20th c. and Contemporary Art Day Sale - Afternoon Session

New York 8 December 2020