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Karla Diaz - Artists - Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

Karla Diaz is a writer, teacher, and multidisciplinary artist who engages in painting, installation, video, and performance. Using narrative to question identity, institutional power, and explore memory, her socially engaged practice generates exciting collaborations and provokes important dialogue among diverse communities. Notably, she is the co-founder of the collective and community artist space Slanguage. Critical discourse is central to her practice as she explores social, subcultural, and marginalized stories.

Diaz’s recent work is the result of a year of insomnia. As a stroke survivor, she practices repetitive memory exercises, using drawing as a tool for excavating and retaining information. In her commitment to rendering a painting every night, Diaz turned to the unfiltered, spontaneous imagery that surfaced during her insomnia, whether dreams, fantasies, or memory. In her introspection, splashes of color became figures and objects that transformed into scenes of domesticity and city life drawn from her upbringing in Mexico and Los Angeles. Personal memories, folklore, familiar iconography of her Mexican heritage, and American pop culture are intertwined in surreal compositions that consider family, loss, and the complexities of the Latinx experience in the United States. As Diaz expresses, “these works reveal meaning in relation to others, to experience, to memory, to story, to dreams and dreamers, to imagination and to the larger context of home.”

Diaz was born in Los Angeles, CA. She received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2003 and a BA from California State University Los Angeles in 1999. Her works have been exhibited nationally and internationally at the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, CA; Pitzer College, Claremont, CA; California State University Los Angeles, CA; San Jose Museum of Art, CA; Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, AZ; LAXART, Hollywood, CA; Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL; Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, MI; Serpentine Galleries, London, U.K.; and Museo Casa de Cervantes, Valladolid, Spain.

She has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards from Art Matters, New York, NY; Tiffany Foundation, New York, NY; City of Los Angeles, CA; Riverside Art Museum, CA; and CalArts, Los Angeles, CA.

Her work is included in the collections of the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA; Inhotim Museum, Brumahinto, Brazil; Armando Duron Collection, Los Angeles, CA; Faye Hunter and Hugh Davies Collection, La Jolla, CA; Eileen Harris Norton Collection, Los Angeles, CA; among others. Karla Diaz lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

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