Christina Quarles: Always Brightest Before Tha Dusk

4 out of 5 stars
Christina Quarles: Always Brightest Before Tha Dusk
Christina Quarles Sun Bleached, 2018. Photo: Damian Griffiths Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias Gallery

There are a lot of slippery, greasy figures in young artist Christina Quarles’s paintings. Bodies that go from solid colour to fluid washes, dripping across the surfaces, slicking through walls and floors.

The works are full of gorgeous details. Stark contrasts between hard, immovable features – walls, hair – and watercolour tides of skin and faces. You spot breasts, legs and bums, faces that melt, ribs that scissor across chests. All in melty, neon, semi-human gloopy glory.

Downstairs, a series of drawings are easier to read. Women’s bodies bend and contort in simple lines, covered with scribbled thoughts like ‘and one day it won’t be enuff’, ‘intolerably, probably’ and ‘we set all there was to be set’. They’re lovely images of female life, of fears and mental acrobatics.

But it’s the paintings that really work. You could probably read some ideas of the ungraspable nature of identity into all of this, something about wrestling with your ideas of yourself and constantly losing the fight. That’s what I see, but who cares; see what you want, because there’s a lot to look at here, and a lot to like, as long as you don't let it slip away from you.

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