Lauren Quin: “My Hellmouth” and Priya Suresh Kambli: “I Am An American / I Am An Indian”

Lauren Quin, My Hellmouth, 2022, Oil on canvas, 78 x 156”, Courtesy of the Artist, Blum & Poe and Friends Indeed

Portrait of Lauren Quin (photo by Josh Schaedel)

Lauren Quin: My Hellmouth
Jan. 21 – June 18, 2023
Artist talk and reception: March 2, 2023

Drawing the eye in with electric colors and seemingly pulsating lines, Lauren Quin’s (b. 1992, Los Angeles, Calif.) abstract paintings exist at the juncture of the deeply personal and the universal, the point where each begins to bleed into the other — for, as she proves in her work, if you go too far into either, you are certain to loop back into its opposite. The artist is dealing in modes of communication both micro and macro, internal and external, to achieve her keenly allusive repertoire of imagery and forms of mark making.

Quin’s compositions flood the viewer with an intense combination of color and symbolism. The artist deploys a host of moments and symbols as structural devices within each work, making archetypes out of figures that she collects and expands upon through a sketching practice. The artist’s paintings are initially built from a shape that is repeated and overlapped. This layering process creates a multitude of compositional center points as well as other forms that appear in the residual spaces. Each painting is also topped with motifs derived from Quin’s drawing archive — a spider, a hand, the sun, a needle — that she transfers onto the canvas with a meticulously honed monoprinting technique. As the artist uses her symbols again and again, they grow from a personally sourced visual language into a collective, cultural unconscious — the meaning expands and erodes, taking on a life of its own as each viewer forms their own attachment to these works.

Lauren Quin lives and works in Los Angeles, Calif. She holds an MFA from the Yale School of Art, New Haven, Conn. and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Ill. Her work has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions, including Pond Society, Shanghai, China (2022), Pulse Train Howl (2022), Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, Calif., Micki Meng (Friends Indeed), and group exhibitions such as Fire Figure Fantasy: Selections from ICA Miami’s Collection (2022), Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, Fla.; and Vaster than Empires (2022), Friends Indeed, San Francisco, Calif. Her work is held in numerous public collections including the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif.; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Ga.; ICA Miami, Miami, Fla.; Pérez Art Museum, Miami, Fla.; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Ariz.; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minn.

Priya Suresh Kambli: I am an American/I am an Indian installation view, Nov. 12, 2022- March 12, 2023,
Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kansas. (photo by EG Schempf)

Priya Suresh Kambli installing I am an American/I am an Indian. (photo by EG Schempf)

Priya Suresh Kambli: I Am An American / I Am An Indian
Nov. 12, 2022 – March 12, 2023

Born in India, living in Missouri, visual artist Priya Suresh Kambli experiences life through a dual lens. She is an American citizen, holds a U.S. passport, and has lived in the States for decades — yet her Indian identity will forever influence the way she moves about the world.

I am an American/I am an Indian is an installation of phrases formed with sugar. This exhibition is one component of Kambli’s larger body of work titled Passport Cancelled as the Holder has Acquired Foreign Nationality. The project was inspired by an experience the artist had in 2011, in which Kambli was required to give up her Indian nationality after becoming an American citizen. There was no room for cultural duality in her passport.
Kambli investigates her identity and its representation using text as a visual anchor, at once claiming and disclaiming certain cultural labels. On one shelf is a positive declaration, for example: “I am an Indian.” Nearby is the response: “I am not your Indian.” Kambli’s use of sugar also carries a dual significance. After visits to India, it is customary to consume something sweet upon departure. This way, the bitterness of leaving might be sweetened. Similarly, in Kambli’s work, the fixed labels we often assign to our identities might be tempered.

–Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art

CategoriesArts Consortium

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