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Calida Rawles at Various Small Fires


On view: February 12–March 14, 2020

At Various Small Fires in Hollywood, languid figures float in rippling pools of water. Calida Rawles’ large scale paintings are a potent mix of figuration and abstraction, as her figures contort and merge with the liquid surrounding them. Rawles is focused on intersectionality and elevating the black female body, and her subjects find peaceful respite and a sense of elevated reclamation. The water surrounding them acts as a safe buffer against the violence of the outside world, as the boundaries between liquid and corpus merge with an open fluidity. One of Rawles’ paintings was poignantly used for the cover of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ novel The Water Dancer — in which water becomes a powerful metaphor of freedom, offering mystical powers to the enslaved black protagonist. The exhibition also contains a selection of preparatory drawings for the dust-jacket.