Chicago Artists Coalition is pleased to present Exhaustion and Exuberance, a HATCH Projects exhibition featuring work by Bobbi Meier, Bryan C. McVey, Raul De Lara, and curated by Sharmyn Cruz Rivera.
In Exhaustion and Exuberance, Meier, McVey, and De Lara present sculptural and performative works that argue for a poetic notion of labor. For these artists, exhaustion is a vehicle to morph recognizable and mundane symbols. The works create a sense of the uncanny through humorous imagery that, in turn, mystifies the viewer. The exhibition's theme is influenced by Jan Verwoert's essay of the same title, which discusses the expectations and pressures to perform in contemporary culture.
Bobbi Meier stretches and wrinkles voluptuous forms to make anthropomorphic pieces that combine textiles and found objects. These hybrid entanglements consider domestic spaces and how their designs are symbols of capital and exuberance. Bryan C. McVey’s work is concerned with methods of the body and psychic endurance involved when physical limits are pushed and exhausted. Using the body as conduit, McVey proposes athleticism through the lens of solitude and mental labor. Also interested in exhaustion as a mechanism, Raul De Lara makes sculptures out of wood and, through hard-carving, transforms the material to make ironic, eerie, or funny social-political commentaries.
Bobbi Meier is a Chicago-based visual artist working in a variety of media. Subversion and ambiguity are recurring themes in her work, as she engages sensibilities of seduction, humor, and discomfort. Meier explores implications of the body through sculptural abstraction, imparting psychological meaning through production, and challenging viewer perception. Recent exhibitions include: Perspiration Glitz at Roots and Culture, Chicago; Evanston Art Center 24th Biennial, Evanston, IL; The Second Terrain Biennial, Oak Park, IL; The Tyranny of Good Taste at Glass Curtain Gallery, Chicago; Bare Bones at The Franklin, Chicago. She has been awarded residencies at: The Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT; Ragdale in Lake Forest, IL; Ox-Bow in Saugatuck, MI; and was a fellow at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass, CO. She is currently a Hatch Projects Resident at the Chicago Artists Coalition. Meier earned her MA in Art Education in 2000, and MFA in Fiber and Material Studies in 2011 at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Bryan C. McVey's work is dynamic in nature and spans a multitude of spaces and subjects including travel, human endurance, the body, as well as urban and rural topics. Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, he received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2008, and now works as a design engineer and photographer based in Chicago. Since 2012, Bryan has exhibited throughout the city, and is the recipient of multiple awards and continued learning scholarships for his work. He is a member of several photographic and artistic spaces, whose practice is balanced by his commercial and freelance work.
Raul De Lara is a sculptor, former professional athlete, and a Mexican immigrant. His work weaves the allusive dialectical relationships between physical humor, seduction, and the uncanny. He foregrounds the inches between the viewer and the object as foreplay to unmask the distance that keeps them apart. His principal appetites are the inexhaustible formal qualities of hand-carved wood, suspicious lexicons, and a willing audience. De Lara is a co-founder of Fat City Arts, a community driven project space and venue located in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood. De Lara currently works as a studio assistant for Nick Cave, and received his BFA from The University of Texas at Austin in 2015.
Sharmyn Cruz Rivera is a Puerto Rican curator based in Chicago. Her curatorial endeavors and research revolve around sound art, video, contemporary dance, performance art, and human geography. She started as an independent curator and art writer for The Fractal, a multidirectional project focused on cultural commentary and art criticism. She holds an MA in Arts Administration and Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a dual BA in Art History and Modern Languages from the University of Puerto Rico. Sharmyn is a program assistant at LAMPO, an organization that promotes and supports artists working in electronic and electroacoustic music, free improvisation, sound art and other new forms. Recent projects include INSIDE VOICE: a sound art program at Threewalls, Home Channels at [Open House] as part of Platforms: 10 years of Chances Dances. Currently, she is a HATCH Projects Curatorial Resident at the Chicago Artists Coalition.