Andrea Nakhla formulates compositions using hybrid means—blending elements, tools, and techniques along a continuum of real, hyperreal, and surreal in scenes of heightened symbolism and inscrutable, urgent events. With the strange logic of a dream, her sensibility references the way digital visions render space in vectors, along with how the hands work up gestures in paint. With arcades and windows opening onto far and level horizons of de Chirico-like sands, her rooms are built of patterned planes, torqued angles, paintings within paintings, stylized furniture, and poetic objects of mystery. These palaces of invention have a jazzy, interpretive relationship to conventions of landscape and architecture, and are inhabited by sleek, anthropoid figures in ceremonial poses. Also like in dreams, Nakhla’s scenes tease a fusion of the invented and remembered, enacting meditations on the mind-body connection and the ultimate source of meaning. Her work is currently on view at Luna Anais Gallery in Los Angeles and at The Hole in New York City.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
ANDREA NAKHLA: I’m not sure exactly, but I do remember my first-grade teacher telling us that Picasso quote, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain one once we grow up,” and thinking I never wanted to grow out of it.
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
My paintings are generally about exploring the subconscious, the mind-body problem, reality and perception.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
I didn’t end up going to college at all. I took a few years off and by the time I was looking into art schools, I realized how much I would have to work to pay off the loan, which wouldn’t leave me with any time to paint. I was able to learn a lot online and through books. I do feel like I missed out on building a real artist community around me, but it’s been nice to not have that financial burden.
Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?
Mainly for the weather! It’s also turned out to be an even better place to see and make art than when I moved here in 2010.
When was your first show?
My very first show was at a DIY pop-up space called the Echo Chamber during Echo Park Rising in 2014; my first “real” gallery solo show was at New Image Art in 2016.
When is/was your current/most recent/next show or project?
I currently have a solo show A Separate Reality up at Luna Anais Gallery in Los Angeles, and I also have work in a group show Fembot at The Hole in NYC through October 22. The Los Angeles exhibition is on view through October 15, and there’s an artist talk on Sunday, October 8, at 5pm.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?
Yeah I listen to music, podcasts, and audiobooks. Music-wise I’ve recently been listening to Sam Burton, Big Thief, Lael Neale, Jonathan Wilson, Terry Allen, and Angelo De Augustine.
Website and social media handles, please!
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