Summer Exhibitions opening reception

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Name: Summer Exhibitions opening reception
Date: June 6, 2019
Time: 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM CDT
Event Description:

On view June 6 - August 17, 2019

moniquemeloche is thrilled to present BASKING NEVER HURT NO ONE, Cheryl Pope’s fourth solo show with the gallery. Born and raised in Chicago, Pope maintains a deep-rooted practice of challenging the widespread racism that has historically defined the city. Although seemingly a departure from the performative, often sports-related projects for which she is known, this new body of work continues the artist’s examination of systematic social concerns, unexpected material interventions, and simultaneously introduces a novel formal language. While she previously positioned herself as a conduit for the voices of the youth impacted by socio-political turmoil, here Pope puts forth a personal intimacy as yet unseen in the artist’s oeuvre. Made of wool roving on cashmere – unspun wool needle-punched into a cashmere support – these “paintings” are textural explorations of the complicated sensuality evoked by a semi-anonymous biracial couple.

Pope’s new works draw upon the motif of the leisured nude figure, a classic image woven throughout the fabric of the art historical canon. Upending the trite narrative of the male artist, who, in projecting his own ideas of the female form, creates a partisan image, Pope presents both the female and male form in sensual, insightful entanglement. In part, the work depicts the simple delights of nudity, portraying two figures as they lounge, unabashedly exposed to the viewer, at times intimately intertwined. Composed of tactile, sensual lines, their bodies sprawl across an imagined natural setting consisting of floral colors and tropical plants, evoking both an Edenic tranquility and carnality. However, a paradisiacal simplicity becomes complicated by longstanding historical and political association: what are the implications of a black and a white body lying together?

While Pope evokes her own personal reality in these works, she notably renders the bodies faceless. As in her previous works, then, she transcends specificity to address larger concepts. On both a personal and more complexly political level, these works appeal to the universal human need for intimacy, trust, and love – all-encompassing desires that bind us all.

Show Me Yours, an exhibition featuring the work of emerging artists Brittney Leeanne Williams, Jake Troyli, and Bianca Nemelc. Presented in tandem with BASKING NEVER HURT NO ONE – a solo exhibition of Cheryl Pope’s new body of work exploring the leisured nude figure – Show Me Yours expands upon Pope’s novel approach to the nude form as a site for examining systematic social concerns. Like Pope, the artists of Show Me Yours offer up their own contemporary interpretations to the classic motif, galvanizing the nude form as a starting point to contemplate prevalent issues such as identity, trauma, and gender.

Brittney Leeanne Williams explores the potential of the female body to both encapsulate and express a variety of psychological states. Rendering skin tone in a surprising spectrum of reds in an effort to subvert expectations, Williams depicts the figures as both faceless and contorted into a near circular embrace of their own bodies, or that of another. Ensconced in these intricate moments partially inaccessible to the viewer, the bodies expand out of surreal fractured backdrops, sourced from the artist’s own personal history. Acting as an amalgamation of both the artist’s identity, as well as that of her female family members, these bodies serve as communal symbols of hope and love, pain and loss.

Jake Troyli utilizes the absurd as an entry point into larger considerations of identity and masculinity. Depicting humorous scenes grounded in the language of classical painting, Troyli inserts his own body as an elastic avatar, able to move through various surfaces and vignettes. Referencing the common social practice of code switching – the practice of alternating between varieties of language – Troyli examines the intricacies of his own identity as a biracial man whilst inhabiting different spaces.

Bianca Nemelc embraces the fragmented female form, placing it against an earthly backdrop of greens and yellows. Although beginning as self-portraits, her monumental headless female forms seek to stand in for all women of color through their renderings in multiple shades of brown. Influenced by the art in her grandmother’s home – such as Fernando Botero and Tarsila do Amaral – Nemelc depicts her figures with playful looping lines, the contours of their bodies matching the delicate curves of water streams and plant branches surrounding them. Motivated by her own identity as a multiracial woman, Nemelc creates large-scale immersive works to provide a meditative space on culture and heritage.


Monique Meloche Gallery
451 N Paulina Street   
Chicago, IL 60622



Date/Time Information:
Thursday, June 6, 2019
Contact Information: 312.243.2129
Free and open to the public
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