Marisa Takal’s works propose systems for navigating and understanding the world — or rather, the many worlds — which we inhabit. Outside and indoors, external and internal, private and public, natural and urban, real and imagined — these are just some of the realms of our multifaceted and frequently confusing experiences. In these richly textured, schematic diagrams of consciousness, we see fractal, organic imagery and nesting inventories of formative memory. In her current exhibition at Night Gallery, her paintings are complex and emotionally direct, and her sculptural work uses crowd-sourced language to catalog the cognitive topography of the most pandemic year.

Marisa Takal, Time and Love, 2021, oil on canvas, 60 x 70 in (Courtesy of Night Gallery)

L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?

MARISA TAKAL: Well, when I was really little like 4 I knew I wanted to be a model, then I realized what that meant and I decided I’d rather be a fashion designer. Then, when I realized what that meant I became a photographer, and then when I realized that dark rooms were dying I started painting. I was always surrounded by art growing up. Both of my dad’s parents were artists. Although they died before I was born, there was no doubt that most of the bones in my body were creative (and nonathletic).


What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?

I tell people that my work explores the ways people are both connected and disconnected from each other and themselves. Where interior and exterior spaces come together and come apart. Kinda like a colorful depiction of our mental maps.


What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?

I think about this a lot! I would most likely be a psychologist or some kind of peer advocate. I love learning how people think and feel. I also wouldn’t say no to being a florist or a revered DJ.


Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?

I came to L.A. on a whim to have a show in my friend’s living room 7 years ago and never left. I love living here because of the pace, the breeze, the mountains, the artists, the inspiration I get from this kooky wasteland of a place. I get to look at these huge mountains every morning when I walk my dog and plopped right in front of them is a gun store and a Smart & Final. Living here makes me feel like I’m in The Sims.

Marisa Takal, You Live in an Apple and You Think Your Apple is the World, Do You think about Power everyday?, 2021, oil on canvas, 65 x 50 in (Courtesy of Night Gallery)

When was your first show?

My first show was in Baltimore at Rock512Devil. It was the brainchild of my friends Flannery Silva, Chloe Maratta and Max Guy. I created a self-imposed residency where I lived in a windowless room in a huge warehouse and had my studio in a very small bathroom where I made work for the show. I’d never been so happy, the show was called Z1.


Where is your current show?

I have a show up right now at Night Gallery called Euphoric Recall and I’m very proud of it! It’s up until May 1.


What artist living or dead would you most like to show with?

Stanley Whitney, Paul Klee, and Xylor Jane.


Do you listen to music while you work? If so what?

I do! I tend to listen to the same songs on repeat as I work, it helps me get into a nice flow. As I worked on my current show I shuffled between Beverly Glenn Copeland, The Roches, Crystal Waters, Laura Nyro, Partynextdoor, and Don Cherry.


Website and social media handles, please!


Marisa Takal, What Are You Wrapped Around?, 2021, oil on canvas, 65 x 55 in (Courtesy of Night Gallery)

Marisa Takal, Crisis of Opportunity, 2021, oil on canvas, 65 x 55 in (Courtesy of Night Gallery)

Installation view of Marisa Takal: Euphoric Recall, installation view at Night Gallery (Photo: Nik Massey. Courtesy of Night Gallery)

LA Weekly