Over a prolific twenty-year period, Kaari Upson created a powerful body of work that mined the emotional linkages and traumas embedded within the objects and architectures that surround us every day.

Working across sculpture, painting, drawing, installation, performance and video, the artist explored relationships between the self and others, between inner life and external reality, and the doublings and repetitions that continually resurface in our past and present. never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never is the first solo exhibition of Upson's work in Los Angeles in over a decade, and the first in the United States since her death in 2021. Titled by the artist, the exhibition premieres several new series that demonstrate an artist at the height of her creative powers.

 

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

 

On view for the first time in the United States are two projects that debuted in the 58th and 59th Venice Biennales respectively: Kris's Dollhouse (2017–19) and Portrait (Vain German) (2020–21). Each illustrate Upson's deft combination of painterly and sculptural modes, as well as her complex method of casting and enlarging objects to produce uncanny effects and environments.

 

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Kris’s Dollhouse, 2017–19
Site-specific installation, video, MDF, resin, urethane, pine wood, plywood, Aqua-Resin, pigment, spray paint and aluminum
Dimensions variable

More views

Through various processes of recording, including 3D-scanning, mold-making, digital milling and painting, elements from a dollhouse that belonged to Upson’s friend Kris were enlarged multiple times to bring them to human scale.

Details
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Kris’s Dollhouse, 2017–19
Site-specific installation, video, MDF, resin, urethane, pine wood, plywood, Aqua-Resin, pigment, spray paint and aluminum
Dimensions variable

Kaari Upson
Kris’s Dollhouse, 2017–19
Site-specific installation, video, MDF, resin, urethane, pine wood, plywood, Aqua-Resin, pigment, spray paint and aluminum
Dimensions variable

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Kris’s Dollhouse, 2017–19 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Kris’s Dollhouse, 2017–19 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Kris’s Dollhouse, 2017–19 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Kris’s Dollhouse, 2017–19 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Kris’s Dollhouse, 2017–19 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Kris’s Dollhouse, 2017–19 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Kris’s Dollhouse, 2017–19 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Kris’s Dollhouse, 2017–19 (detail)

Details
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Through various processes of recording, including 3D-scanning, mold-making, digital milling and painting, elements from a dollhouse that belonged to Upson’s friend Kris were enlarged multiple times to bring them to human scale.

To these dollhouse fragments, Upson added some of her friend’s personal items, such as a large, plastic-wrapped Christmas tree and a piece of jewelry, which were cast and re-presented in various scales, orientations and repetitions. Behind a false wall resembling a hearth, a video plays in which the artist and Kris perform, made up in the image of one other and narrating stories and odd encounters from Kris’s life. Scale and personae are thus rendered strange and unpredictable in a work that considers how we find self-definition in conversation with those close to us.

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Kris’s Dollhouse, 2017–19 (detail)

Details
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Kris’s Dollhouse, 2017–19 (detail)

Details
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To these dollhouse fragments, Upson added some of her friend’s personal items, such as a large, plastic-wrapped Christmas tree and a piece of jewelry, which were cast and re-presented in various scales, orientations and repetitions. Behind a false wall resembling a hearth, a video plays in which the artist and Kris perform, made up in the image of one other and narrating stories and odd encounters from Kris’s life. Scale and personae are thus rendered strange and unpredictable in a work that considers how we find self-definition in conversation with those close to us.

Excerpt from Alex’s House (2019), one of three videos on loop in the installation Kris’s Dollhouse (2017–19)

 

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

 

Upson's Portrait (Vain German) panels, which feature ghostly, abstracted visages, begin from a similar principle: the artist first created a miniature painting, which was 3D-scanned, enlarged and cast using a silicone mold. Working with the mold on the floor, Upson painted one layer at a time, from front to back, making marks with pigment-tinted Aqua-Resin. As she built up the image, the marks she put down first were hidden by later ones, a process she dubbed "blind painting." The final image is thus a combination of deliberate actions, chance effects and forgotten gestures, while the series as a whole relates to the theme of "vanitas" and its consequent notions of time, transience, death and beauty. In some panels the figure is clearly visible, while in others, traces of facial features are absorbed into Upson's network of Technicolor painterly motions.

 

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21
Urethane, resin, Aqua-Resin, pigment, fiberglass and aluminum
74.3 × 59.4 × 5.1 cm
29 1/4 × 23 3/8 × 2 inches

More Views
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21
Urethane, resin, Aqua-Resin, pigment, fiberglass and aluminum
74.3 × 59.1 × 6 cm
29 1/4 × 23 1/4 × 2 3/8 inches

More Views
Details
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21
Urethane, resin, Aqua-Resin, pigment, fiberglass and aluminum
74.3 × 59.4 × 5.1 cm
29 1/4 × 23 3/8 × 2 inches

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21
Urethane, resin, Aqua-Resin, pigment, fiberglass and aluminum
74.3 × 59.4 × 5.1 cm
29 1/4 × 23 3/8 × 2 inches

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21 (scale image)

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21 (scale image)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21
Urethane, resin, Aqua-Resin, pigment, fiberglass and aluminum
74.3 × 59.1 × 6 cm
29 1/4 × 23 1/4 × 2 3/8 inches

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21
Urethane, resin, Aqua-Resin, pigment, fiberglass and aluminum
74.3 × 59.1 × 6 cm
29 1/4 × 23 1/4 × 2 3/8 inches

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21 (scale image)

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21 (scale image)

Details
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Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21
Urethane, resin, Aqua-Resin, pigment, fiberglass and aluminum
74.3 × 59.1 × 7.3 cm
29 1/4 × 23 1/4 × 2 7/8 inches

More Views
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21
Urethane, resin, Aqua-Resin, pigment, fiberglass and aluminum
74.3 × 59.7 × 5.7 cm
29 1/4 × 23 1/2 × 2 1/4 inches

More Views
Details
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21
Urethane, resin, Aqua-Resin, pigment, fiberglass and aluminum
74.3 × 59.1 × 7.3 cm
29 1/4 × 23 1/4 × 2 7/8 inches

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21
Urethane, resin, Aqua-Resin, pigment, fiberglass and aluminum
74.3 × 59.1 × 7.3 cm
29 1/4 × 23 1/4 × 2 7/8 inches

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21 (scale image)

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21 (scale image)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21
Urethane, resin, Aqua-Resin, pigment, fiberglass and aluminum
74.3 × 59.7 × 5.7 cm
29 1/4 × 23 1/2 × 2 1/4 inches

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21
Urethane, resin, Aqua-Resin, pigment, fiberglass and aluminum
74.3 × 59.7 × 5.7 cm
29 1/4 × 23 1/2 × 2 1/4 inches

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21 (scale image)

Kaari Upson
Portrait (Vain German), 2020–21 (scale image)

Details
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The exhibition also presents a major new group of paintings on canvas that Upson embarked upon during the early months of the pandemic. Alone in her studio, she returned to the medium of her early Kiss Paintings (2007–10), reviving some of the same techniques.

 

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

 

Using myriad painterly marks within each work, from spraying and masking to heavy impasto, the artist generated compositions in which symbols seen across her work take shape in paint—the blonde, braided Fräulein, gingham-checkered fabrics, pairs of eyes, household objects. Crises and transgressions are hinted at, but never revealed.

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21
Mixed media on canvas
142.2 × 127 cm
56 × 50 inches

More views
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020
Mixed media on canvas
121.9 × 121.9 cm
48 × 48 inches

More views
Details
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21
Mixed media on canvas
142.2 × 127 cm
56 × 50 inches

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21
Mixed media on canvas
142.2 × 127 cm
56 × 50 inches

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21 (scale image)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21 (scale image)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020
Mixed media on canvas
121.9 × 121.9 cm
48 × 48 inches

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020
Mixed media on canvas
121.9 × 121.9 cm
48 × 48 inches

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (scale image)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (scale image)

Details
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1 of 2

Using myriad painterly marks within each work, from spraying and masking to heavy impasto, the artist generated compositions in which symbols seen across her work take shape in paint—the blonde, braided Fräulein, gingham-checkered fabrics, pairs of eyes, household objects. Crises and transgressions are hinted at, but never revealed.

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020
Mixed media on canvas
152.4 × 152.4 cm
60 × 60 inches

More Views
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020
Mixed media on canvas
152.4 × 152.4 cm
60 × 60 inches

More views

The grid is a recurring device that both unifies the canvases as a body of work and gives them clear differentiations from one to the next. And like Philip Guston and others after him, Upson moves nimbly between abstraction and figuration, wrestling between the two in each richly layered and revelatory canvas.

Details
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020
Mixed media on canvas
152.4 × 152.4 cm
60 × 60 inches

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020
Mixed media on canvas
152.4 × 152.4 cm
60 × 60 inches

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (scale image)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (scale image)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020
Mixed media on canvas
152.4 × 152.4 cm
60 × 60 inches

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020
Mixed media on canvas
152.4 × 152.4 cm
60 × 60 inches

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (scale image)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (scale image)

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 2

The grid is a recurring device that both unifies the canvases as a body of work and gives them clear differentiations from one to the next. And like Philip Guston and others after him, Upson moves nimbly between abstraction and figuration, wrestling between the two in each richly layered and revelatory canvas.

“I let any idea dictate the medium, meaning whatever medium needs to fulfill the idea, I’ll go toward it, generally even more so if it’s a material I’ve never worked with because the unknown is so important.” –Kaari Upson

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21
Urethane, Crystal Clear resin, pigment, aluminum
43.8 × 131.1 × 34.9 cm
17 1/4 × 51 5/8 × 13 3/4 inches

More views
Details
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21
Urethane, Crystal Clear resin, pigment, aluminum
43.8 × 131.1 × 34.9 cm
17 1/4 × 51 5/8 × 13 3/4 inches

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21
Urethane, Crystal Clear resin, pigment, aluminum
43.8 × 131.1 × 34.9 cm
17 1/4 × 51 5/8 × 13 3/4 inches

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21 (detail)

Details
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The grid of gingham patterning reappears in a suite of arresting figurative sculptures that began as miniature wooden whittled dolls that were then enlarged and cast—another example of Upson's play with scale, as well as her interest in materials and process.

 

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21
Urethane, Crystal Clear resin, pigment, aluminum
38.1 × 137.2 × 48.3 cm
15 × 54 × 19 inches

The sculptures also delve into the complexity of familial ties: their uniform of jeans and plaid shirt is a combo often worn by the artist's mother, and one in which Upson herself performed in videos taking on her mother's guise. Yet the close-cropped hair and the cast vodka bottles that run along the sculpture's spine, perhaps feeding the body or sucking it dry, reference her father. Their pinkish contents recall a mix of blood and water and emphasize the discomfiting bonds of family and the inescapable dilemmas of generational trauma.

Details
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21
Urethane, Crystal Clear resin, pigment, aluminum
38.1 × 137.2 × 48.3 cm
15 × 54 × 19 inches

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020–21
Urethane, Crystal Clear resin, pigment, aluminum
38.1 × 137.2 × 48.3 cm
15 × 54 × 19 inches

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 1

The sculptures also delve into the complexity of familial ties: their uniform of jeans and plaid shirt is a combo often worn by the artist's mother, and one in which Upson herself performed in videos taking on her mother's guise. Yet the close-cropped hair and the cast vodka bottles that run along the sculpture's spine, perhaps feeding the body or sucking it dry, reference her father. Their pinkish contents recall a mix of blood and water and emphasize the discomfiting bonds of family and the inescapable dilemmas of generational trauma.

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2015–21
Graphite and ink on paper
260.4 × 530.9 cm
102 1/2 × 209 inches

More Views
Details
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2015–21
Graphite and ink on paper
260.4 × 530.9 cm
102 1/2 × 209 inches

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2015–21
Graphite and ink on paper
260.4 × 530.9 cm
102 1/2 × 209 inches

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2015–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2015–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2015–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2015–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2015–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2015–21 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2015–21 (scale image)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2015–21 (scale image)

Details
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“The drawings are the beginning, middle and end for each project. It’s how I map it out. It’s how I remember. It’s how I locate myself. I learn more through that process than almost anything else.” –Kaari Upson

As a background to these later developments in Upson's work are examples of her large-scale drawings—a cornerstone of her practice. Created over time, often over the course of several years, they display evocative fragments of text and image that offer a view into the artist’s kaleidoscopic thought process. Faces and bodies intermingle with images of her past sculptures, as well as lines of text that speak out from the page in a chorus of different voices, all incorporated at different scales and orientations to dizzying effect. Like much of Upson’s work, her drawings connote mixed feelings of repulsion and attraction, all the while luring the viewer into their experimental webs of information.

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
AFTER (Little Smokey), 2017–18
Graphite and ink on paper
252.7 × 130.8 cm
99 × 51 1/2 inches

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Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2017
Graphite and ink on paper
238.8 × 114.3 cm
94 × 45 inches

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Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
AFTER (Little Smokey), 2017–18
Graphite and ink on paper
252.7 × 130.8 cm
99 × 51 1/2 inches

Kaari Upson
AFTER (Little Smokey), 2017–18
Graphite and ink on paper
252.7 × 130.8 cm
99 × 51 1/2 inches

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
AFTER (Little Smokey), 2017–18 (detail)

Kaari Upson
AFTER (Little Smokey), 2017–18 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
AFTER (Little Smokey), 2017–18 (detail)

Kaari Upson
AFTER (Little Smokey), 2017–18 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
AFTER (Little Smokey), 2017–18 (scale image)

Kaari Upson
AFTER (Little Smokey), 2017–18 (scale image)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2017
Graphite and ink on paper
238.8 × 114.3 cm
94 × 45 inches

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2017
Graphite and ink on paper
238.8 × 114.3 cm
94 × 45 inches

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
A drawing for Cuppies / pet peeves, 2017 (detail)

Kaari Upson
A drawing for Cuppies / pet peeves, 2017 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
A drawing for Cuppies / pet peeves, 2017 (detail)

Kaari Upson
A drawing for Cuppies / pet peeves, 2017 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
A drawing for Cuppies / pet peeves, 2017 (detail)

Kaari Upson
A drawing for Cuppies / pet peeves, 2017 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
A drawing for Cuppies / pet peeves, 2017 (scale image)

Kaari Upson
A drawing for Cuppies / pet peeves, 2017 (scale image)

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As a background to these later developments in Upson's work are examples of her large-scale drawings—a cornerstone of her practice. Created over time, often over the course of several years, they display evocative fragments of text and image that offer a view into the artist’s kaleidoscopic thought process. Faces and bodies intermingle with images of her past sculptures, as well as lines of text that speak out from the page in a chorus of different voices, all incorporated at different scales and orientations to dizzying effect. Like much of Upson’s work, her drawings connote mixed feelings of repulsion and attraction, all the while luring the viewer into their experimental webs of information.

Throughout the exhibition, Upson's persistent characters, symbolism and gestures materialize through an array of aesthetic approaches and mediums, always returning to the inner workings of the self. Merging personhood and objecthood in ways both alluring and disturbing, the works on view demonstrate Upson's unwavering urge to interpret the psyches and psychoses of our complicated twenty-first century lives, with vigor, depth and beauty.

 

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020
Mixed media on canvas
61 × 61 cm
24 × 24 inches

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Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020
Mixed media on canvas
61 × 61 cm
24 × 24 inches

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020
Mixed media on canvas
61 × 61 cm
24 × 24 inches

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (scale image)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (scale image)

Details
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Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020
Mixed media on canvas
50.8 × 50.8 cm
20 × 20 inches

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Details
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020
Mixed media on canvas
50.8 × 50.8 cm
20 × 20 inches

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020
Mixed media on canvas
50.8 × 50.8 cm
20 × 20 inches

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (detail)

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles
Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (scale image)

Kaari Upson
Untitled, 2020 (scale image)

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“I’m not trying to get to a finished point; there is no finished point. I just want to let it accumulate.” –Kaari Upson

Kaari Upson – never, never ever, never in my life, never in all my born days, never in all my life, never – Los Angeles

All installation views by Robert Wedemeyer