Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Christina Quarles



Christina Quarles

We are going to live with water for the rest of our lives, 2017






“Legibility teeters on the edge of lack and excess—when we lack information about a thing, it is vague. However, as information accumulates, the risk for contradiction increases and legibility tips into ambiguity. As a Queer, cis-woman, born to a black father and a white mother, I engage with the world from a position that is multiply situated. My project is informed by my daily experience with ambiguity and seeks to dismantle assumptions of our fixed subjectivity through images that challenge the viewer to contend with the disorganized body in a state of excess.


Bottoms Up, 2018

In this work, contour lines, and the emphasis on both the surface and the edge of the frame are analogous to the edge of the body. For example, in my installation “It’s Gunna Be All Right, Cause Baby There Ain’t Nuthin’ Left,” what appears to be pictures hanging on the wall are in fact two-dimensional, painted trompe l’oeil illusions. Just as the edge of the canvases in this installation are illusory, so too are the boundaries that demarcate the self.

ChristinaDoubled Down2017

Doubled Down, 2017

The contradiction of my Black ancestry coupled with my fair skin, results in my place always being my displace. Throughout my paintings, there are perspectival planes that both situate and fragment the bodies they bisect—location becomes dislocation. Fixed categories of identity can be used to marginalize but, paradoxically, can be used by the marginalized to gain visibility and political power. This paradox is the central focus of my practice.”

ChristinaCasually Cruel, 2018

Casuelly Cruel, 2018

Christina Quarles was born in Chicago, IL in 1985 and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She completed her BA at Hampshire College in 2007 with a double concentration in Philosophy and Studio Arts. Christina earned her MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Yale University in 2016. She currently lives in Los Angeles, CA with her wife and two cats.