Drawing the eye in with electric colors and seemingly pulsating lines, Lauren Quin’s (b. 1992, Los Angeles, CA) 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.
Quin’s compositions are also built from a form that she calls the tube: a key trope in her oeuvre. These thick strips of color and shadow resemble volumetric prisms. When overlapping, they morph into a shifting crosshatch or moiré pattern. Quin’s tubes are both the most persistently recurring and the least stable element of her compositions; they play tricks with the consistency of their weight and value.
Toward the end of Quin’s process, she lays down a heavy layer of paint that she must act upon quickly, carving into it before it can set. The artist describes this portion of her production as athletic, nimble, and dictated by the passage of time. In this carving process, Quin formulates a new argument for abstraction that is not about hard edges, clean lines, or brute force.
Lauren Quin lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She holds an MFA from the Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions including her first US museum show My Hellmouth, Nerman Museum of Art, Overland Park, KS (2023); Sagittal Fours, Pond Society, Shanghai, China (2022); Pulse Train Howl, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA (2022), and group exhibitions such as Fire Figure Fantasy: Selections from ICA Miami’s Collection, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL (2022); and On Boxing, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA (2021). Her work is held in numerous public collections including the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL; Long Museum, Shanghai, China; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS; Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ; Smart Museum, Chicago, IL; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN and Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China.
Lauren Quin: My Hellmouth