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451 North Paulina Street
Chicago, IL 60622
312 243 2129
Monique Meloche founded her eponymous gallery in Chicago’s West Loop in 2001 with an international roster of emerging artists working in all media. Our program has been diverse and inclusive since its inception, and we continue to be a bellwether for artistic talents early or under-recognized in their careers.

Taking a curatorial approach honed after Meloche’s six years at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and in directorial positions at both Rhona Hoffman and Kavi Gupta Galleries, we present conceptually challenging programming in Chicago and at art fairs internationally with an emphasis on institutional outreach. The gallery’s focus is on discovering and fostering emerging artists like Rashid Johnson, Amy Sherald, Ebony G. Patterson, and Sanford Biggers – bringing them to the attention of collectors, curators, institutions and global audiences. The gallery has grown from being locally recognized as one of the best in Chicago to being respected internationally with our artists collected by public institutions worldwide.

The gallery promotes politically minded contemporary art, presenting six exhibitions annually in Chicago and participating in three to five art fairs per year. In addition, we previously commissioned three public art installations annually in our front window “on the wall” exhibition space and on neighborhood bus benches by visiting artists such as Kerry James Marshall, Hank Willis Thomas, Nina Chanel Abney, Abigail DeVille, Kay Rosen, Michelle Grabner, and assumevividastrofocus, among others. In summer 2018, the gallery moved to a new and significantly expanded space on Chicago’s West Side. Our new home was inaugurated by a long-awaited solo exhibition by Jeff Sonhouse, whose work we first exhibited in a 2005 group show organized by then-independent curator Franklin Sirmans. With this new space, we have expanded our yearly exhibition capabilities, and look forward to both nurturing and developing our gallery roster.
Artists Represented:
Candida Alvarez
Carla Arocha & Stéphane Schraenen 
Sanford Biggers 
Justin Cooper
David Antonio Cruz 
Brendan Fernandes 
Dan Gunn 
Sheree Hovsepian 
Rashid Johnson 
Kate Levant 
Ben Murray 
Maia Cruz Palileo 
Ebony G. Patterson 
Cheryl Pope 
Karen Reimer 
Joel Ross 
Jake Troyli
Carrie Schneider 
Amy Sherald 
Nate Young

 

 
Exterior of Monique Meloche Gallery
Exterior of Monique Meloche Gallery
Monique Meloche Gallery
Monique Meloche Gallery
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Current Exhibition

Nate Young

The Transcendence of Time

451 North Paulina Street
Chicago, IL 60622

April 4, 2020 - May 22, 2020
Full press release forthcoming.

 
Past Exhibitions

Candida Alvarez

Estoy Bien

451 North Paulina Street
Chicago, IL 60622

February 1, 2020 - March 21, 2020
moniquemeloche is thrilled to present Estoy Bien, an exhibition of new Air Paintings by Candida Alvarez. This is Alvarez’s first exhibition with Monique Meloche and her first solo gallery exhibition in Chicago. The work of Candida Alvarez is imbued with both personal and formal aspects which evolve through her relationship to color, light, and architectural elements. These unique paintings, on view for the first time in Chicago, originated as proofs intended for an installation as part of the inaugural Chicago Riverwalk Year of Public Art program (2017). The images took on a new resolve after a series of critical events, including the passing of the artist’s father, followed shortly by Hurricane Maria, and her mother’s decision to relocate from Puerto Rico to the United States. Amidst this period of transformation, Alvarez found herself drawn to the comforts of her studio, exploring the shifting panorama of Puerto Rico. Drawing inspiration from a specific phrase widely spoken by the hurricane’s survivors, Estoy Bien (I’m Fine) and the solastalgia of the island as her muse, her proofs took on new life as a series of paintings, serving as a palimpsest of growth and fortitude. Drawing from the narrative of place, Alvarez pulls from materials in her immediate world and her travels to build dreamlike narratives existing somewhere between fact and fiction. Patterns on the floor, memories from childhood, and photographs function as ways of infusing her world into each painting. This new series of work suspends carefully within an aluminum frame, allowing the image to grow beyond conventional restrictions, presenting as a dual-sided painting. Light plays a crucial role; the use of a paper thin pvc mesh as a canvas allows for light to permeate each image, creating the sensation of color and form existing without boundary, as if each painting can live unrestricted, floating within space. When creating each image on view, Alvarez engaged what she calls an active search, exploring the world around her with unremitting curiosity, investing thoughtful attention into that which is often deemed ordinary. This process offers Alvarez a unique way of seeing, incorporating material from her immediate world and everyday experience, arranging it in a way that is organic and surprising. “My work stumbles through what I think of as chatty abstract spaces to reboot both light and space so that they can conjure shape shifting and dream catching. These investigations allow for my paintings and drawings to build abstract narrative structures that mix and remix themselves, interweaving the narrative with the pictorial. My aim is to expand the hybrid space of painting all the while maintaining a crucial connection to daily life.” – Candida Alvarez Coinciding with the opening of Estoy Bien is the release of Alvarez’s much anticipated and comprehensive monograph, “Candida Alvarez: Here. A Visual Reader”, published by Green Lantern Press. The monograph follows her first major institutional exhibition, “Here”, which was on view at the Chicago Cultural Center in 2017, and will celebrate the artist’s creative career, spanning over four decades. Contributors include Terry R. Myers (Curator of “Candida Alvarez: Here”), Dr. Kellie Jones (Columbia University, New York), and Elizabeth Alexander (President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation). Additionally, a fully illustrated digital catalogue will be produced on the occasion of Estoy Bien at moniquemeloche, featuring an essay by independent curator Melissa Messina. Candida Alvarez (b. 1955 in Brooklyn, NY) received her MFA from the Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT 1997. Alvarez was commissioned by the City of Chicago to create four large paintings, installed along lower Wacker Drive on the Riverwalk in downtown Chicago, as part of the inaugural Year of Public Art, an ongoing city-wide public art initiative. Alvarez was also tapped by Rei Kawakubo, founder of international fashion house Comme des Garçons, who transformed six of her paintings into prints featured in their Fall 2017 menswear collection. Alvarez was honored with a solo retrospective at the Chicago Cultural Center, Candida Alvarez: Here (2017), curated by Terry R. Myers. The exhibition marked the first major institutional exhibition, reflecting forty years of her painting. Other solo exhibitions include the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL (2012-13); Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA (2003); New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT (1996); The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY (1992); The Queens Museum, Flushing, NY (1991); and Galerie Schneiderei, Cologne, Germany (1990). Her work has appeared in group exhibitions at the DePaul Art Museum, Chicago, IL (2018); the Kemper Museum, Kansas City, MO (2017); CAM, Houston, TX (2003); The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA (1990); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (1985); and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY (1980). Her work is included in the collections of the Addison Gallery of American Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and El Museo del Barrio, New York City. Reviews of her work have appeared in various publications, including ArtForum, Art in America, Artnews, and The New York Times. Alvarez is a recipient of the 2019 Joan Mitchell Foundation, Painters & Sculptors Grant. She currently lives and works in Chicago, IL where she holds the F.H. Sellers Professorship in Painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Brendan Fernandes

Restrain

451 North Paulina Street
Chicago, IL 60622

November 2, 2019 - January 11, 2020
moniquemeloche is thrilled to present Restrain,a new body of work by multidisciplinary artist Brendan Fernandes. This is Fernandes’ second solo exhibition with the gallery. Drawing from his history as a trained ballet dancer, Fernandes skillfully intersects the movement and mastery of the body with contemporary art practices, while questioning the canon of ethnographic museum collections. Inspired by his recent performance at the Guggenheim in New York City, Ballet Kink(2019), Fernandes continues to explore the role and status of the body within the contemporary art apparatus through Restrain.This unique series of cast bronze sculptures presents as bound rope, characteristic of the patterns found within Shibari bondage, a form of BDSM that skillfully utilizes ropes, knots, braids, and harnesses to bind and adorn the body, creating patterns that contrast and complement the natural form. The sculptures are suspended within custom-built armatures designed to emphasize the position each bind would have had on the absent body, confronting viewers with a truly still evocation of the body’s removal, creating monuments to the absences. The practice of removing the body from forms recalls the artist’s early explorations of the absent bodies of African communities removed from cultural objects by western museological practice, bodies violently halted from carrying out actions of agency and resistance. This new series of sculptures further builds upon this study, inviting viewers to consider ambiguously present or absent bodies of queer, BDSM and kink practitioners––bodies which have historically been absent from visual spaces and continue to face censorship through ongoing practices of “Community Guidelines” and removal from social media. For these bodies, BDSM represents a space for exploration and release. Acting out consensual roles and scenes of instruction is for many a means of escape. It presents an opportunity to stage situations of real-world oppression similar to that which is frequently imposed upon the queer community, in order to renew a sense of agency and control. “In my work, the queer body is a political representation of deviation. Who we love, the ways we behave and where we come from are magnified through our bodies. This is especially true for queers of color, whose presence represents an intersection of race, gender and sexual orientation. For too many, this elicits prejudice and violence: in outbursts as we saw with the 2016 Orlando Shooting, and in the daily pressures of discomfort, suspicion, and unwelcomeness expressed toward us by a dominant culture. Our bodies are the site of these struggles. In my work, I explore the possibility that our bodies can also be the site for resistance and freedom of expression.” – Brendan Fernandes At a pivotal moment where queer bodies are marginalized and BDSM practices are largely demonized, Restrainserves to examine bondage as a metaphor for resistance, pain, pleasure, and freedom, while also examining our society’s penchant for removing the body; its pains and its pleasures; from public discourse and consideration.

David Antonio Cruz

One Day I’ll Turn the Corner and I’ll Be Ready For It

451 North Paulina Street
Chicago, IL 60622

September 7, 2019 - October 26, 2019

David Antonio Cruz

One Day I'll Turn the Corner and I'll Be Ready For It

451 North Paulina Street
Chicago, IL 60622

September 7, 2019 - October 26, 2019
moniquemeloche is thrilled to present One Day I’ll Turn the Corner and I’ll Be Ready For It, an exhibition of new paintings by David Antonio Cruz. This is Cruz’s first exhibition with the gallery and his first in Chicago. David Antonio Cruz explores the intersectionality of queerness and race through painting, sculpture, and performance. Focusing on queer, trans, and genderfluid communities of color, Cruz examines the violence perpetrated against their members, conveying his subjects both as specific individuals and as monumental signifiers for large and urgent systemic concerns. Using a vast trove of images mined from the internet, including the personal social media accounts of his subjects, Cruz brings these individuals out of the shadows and into the light. He inserts these individuals’ likenesses into lush, sensuous compositions directly inspired by the aspirational aesthetic of luxury and fashion, creating a dissonance that critically elevates his black and brown subjects while also emphasizing the extreme injustice of their plights. To further enrich these portraits with depths of meaning, Cruz employs a unique and coded visual vocabulary. Baroque background patterns reveal real plant types, whose native regions relate to locales where these victims lived or were found. Certain colors hold certain meanings (green relates to immigration, for example), a formal code that evokes the charged relationship between skin tone and identity. Organic, anthropomorphic forms peer out from behind figures, witnesses that break the fourth wall, inviting us in to these newly-transparent worlds. In this way, Cruz illustrates his subjects’ stories through portraiture, positioning them firmly within an art historical canon from which they have been largely excluded. In doing so, he further saves their narratives from the white noise of media coverage whose disregard bars such truths from entering our collective consciousness. Cruz humanely retrieves his subjects from this imposed invisibility. The new paintings on view present a timely development in Cruz’s examination and memorialization of this all-too-regular brutality: they extend the reach of his political discourse to include issues related to immigration and displacement at the US-Mexico border. His subjects’ stories convey specific ways in which queer and trans folks have suffered in this contested space. Roxana died while incarcerated after ICE denied her medication. Carlos’ deportation has separated him from his husband and son. While these injustices may be unique to this particular conflict, the collateral human suffering they yield is universal. Cruz’s deeply empathetic gaze enlightens the viewer to those overlooked but urgently salient experiences, facilitating a communion of humanity between seer and seen.

Cheryl Pope

BASKING NEVER HURT NO ONE

451 North Paulina Street
Chicago, IL 60622

June 6, 2019 - August 17, 2019

Brittney Leeanne Williams, Jake Troyli, Bianca Nemelc

Show Me Yours

451 North Paulina Street
Chicago, IL 60622

June 6, 2019 - August 17, 2019