Los Angeles

Alexa Guarilglia, The Lionized Crumb (The Things We Are), 2019, gouache, watercolor, and ink on paper, 60 × 45 1⁄2".

Alexa Guariglia

Moskowitz Bayse

The lanky ladies in Alexa Guariglia’s paintings hover in swirling blossoms of color, caught either in the act of artmaking or aswim in paper or water. Their lithe contours seem to have been recorded with a single swipe of the artist’s brush, as in the elongated bodies of illustrated fashion models. Ensconced in writhing vegetation and clad in frenetic patterns, the figures look wholly lost in their own worlds: Stacks of canvases brick in their makers; arms knead a misshapen hunk of clay; faces bend toward paintings as if entranced by magical mirrors. The portraits’ easy lyricism and diaphanous charm are largely indebted to their materials—washes of gouache and watercolor, flourishes of ink.

In Guariglia’s recent exhibition “Sink or Swim,” watery metaphors abounded in works’ titles. Take Poseidon’s Concubine (all works cited, 2019) or Helike, which invoked the name of an ancient Greek city

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