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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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Online Programming

Nate Young

The Transcendence of Time

451 North Paulina Street
Chicago, IL 60622

moniquemeloche presents The Transcendence of Time, the gallery’s fourth solo exhibition with conceptual artist Nate Young. Through this new body of work, Young mines his own family archives to explore and question the nature of identification, history, and the significance of ritual as a means to instill authority. The Transcendence of Time allows for a deeper investigation into excavated bones thought to be from the horse that once carried the artist’s great-grandfather from the South to the North during the Great Migration, a personal narrative illuminated by the larger history of US race relations and the movement of black bodies. In this continuum of work, Young now considers the impetus of the bones through the lens of science and philosophy, exploring their ability to offer clues and insights to his family’s unique journey to identity, while also connecting to a more universal narrative. Riveted by the illusion of time, Young evokes the theoretical proposition of a causal loop – the concept of objects and information as self-existing, through a cyclical relationship between cause-and-effect that functions to preserve a fixed outcome. While the works are visually rooted in narratives of family history, there is a subtle reference to time as existing beyond perceived limits. “The past, present, and future exist within the work, challenging and transcending linear boundaries by examining the complicated relationship between the bones and their origins, suggesting their continued existence across multiple planes of time. There is a metaphysical proof of informational loops that suggests the potential to unlock and actualize the past and the future, through the assured knowledge of the bone’s existence within the here and now.” – Nate Young More simply put, Young considers the idea of an object bringing about its own existence, a concept popularized in mainstream media through films such as “Back to the Future” and “Interstellar”, as well as well as the recent Netflix series “Dark”. The exhibition presents two unique bodies of sculptural works, each rooted in this fascination with quantum entanglement, where the present actualizes and discovers artifacts of the past. Inspired by rituals’ ability to frame, define, and empower, Young presents reliquaries that loosely mimics ornate altars and vitrines found in a house of worship, thereby elevating the horse bones to a sacred position of authority and cultural relevance. Excerpts of text appear within each altar, recounting the harrowing stories of his great-grandfather’s battle with depression. The bones built into each work themselves reveal secretly coded messages within. What we arrive at is an expansion of the ongoing critical investigation of the myriad ways in which meaning is constructed, and how it’s informed not only by empirical evidence, but also by ritual and philosophical belief. Nate Young (American b. 1981, lives Chicago) received his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2009 and a BA from Northwestern College in Minnesota in 2004. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2009. Young’s recent solo exhibitions include (re)collection), The De Pree Art Center at Hope College, Holland, MI (2020; …WELL!, Julius Caesar, Chicago (2019); Cleromancy, moniquemeloche, Chicago (2017); re:collection, VisArts, Richmond, VA (2017), Stations, Luce Gallery, Turin, Italy (2016), The Unseen Evidence of Things Substantiated, Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA(2015), and But not yet: in the spirit of linguistics, moniquemeloche, Chicago (2015). His work has been included in many group exhibitions, including FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial of Contemporary Art (2018); Four Saints in Three Acts, DePaul Art Museum, Chicago, (2017); Chicago Invites Chicago, Galerie Lelong, New York (2016); Retreat, curated by Theaster Gates, Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago (2014); Tony Lewis and Nate Young, Room East, New York (2014); the Soap Factory’s Minnesota Biennial (2013); Fore, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2012); and Go Tell It on the Mountain, California African American Museum, Los Angeles (2012). Young was a 2015 Artist-in-Residence at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, and he is the recipient of the Knight Arts Challenge Fellowship from the Knight Foundation (2014); the Jerome Fellowship for Emerging Artists (2014); and the Bush Fellowship for Visual Artists (2010). His work is in notable collections, including the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.; Mott Warsh Collection, Flint, MI; and the Fabric Workshop Museum, Philadelphia. Young was recently commissioned by the Driehaus Museum (Chicago, IL) to create new works and site specific installations which respond directly to the complex history of the museum’s 1883 building and its architecture. The exhibition will be on view in the Summer of 2020. Young is co-founder and Director of the artist-run exhibition space The Bindery Projects, in Minneapolis. He is Assistant Professor of Studio Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Online viewing room: https://moniquemeloche.viewingrooms.com/viewing-room/4-nate-young-the-transcendence-of-time/ Virtual walkthrough: https://vimeo.com/411004867/46e2139188

 
Current Exhibition

Jake Troyli

Don't forget to pack a lunch!

451 North Paulina Street
Chicago, IL 60622

September 12, 2020 - October 31, 2020

 
Past Exhibitions

Chase Hall

Half Note

451 North Paulina Street
Chicago, IL 60622

July 11, 2020 - August 22, 2020
moniquemeloche gallery is thrilled to announce tandem solo presentation of new works from artists Chase Hall and February James. Faced with navigating the new challenges introduced by the global pandemic, both Hall and James were offered a new entry point for intimate self-reflection, memorialized in these new bodies of work. With his vigorous portraits, Chase Hall aims to explore the absolute of biracial identity, redefining the duality of a mixed-race experience in terms that are both personal and cultural. A self-taught multi-disciplinary artist, Hall considers the internal dialogue of existing in between fixed identities, Black and white, reclaiming past histories and residual traumas in order to consider how the dynamics of race are foundational to America. Through his new series Half Note, Hall considers the longstanding erasure of Black achievement and the resilient lineage of Black Americans examined through jazz culture. The landscapes are evocative of sultry jazz clubs, a site through which Black identity, community, humanity, and expression flourished despite oppressions imposed upon them. Each painting is deliberate; raw cotton canvas remains exposed, a form of protest against white paint as a necessary ingredient to activate surfaces. Instead, Hall allows robust strokes of color to confront the vacuous nature of historically white spaces, rendering the scenes almost incomplete, conceptually and visually considering the conflict of biraciality. The use of coffee creates vivid hues evocative of black nuance, as tonal washes liberate each figure from the regulated and exclusionary canon of American portraiture. Hall engages history as vehicle to better understand the painful inheritances of the past, while reclaiming his legacy and creating space for increased cultural cognizance and reparation. While varied in their methodologies, each artist’s propensity for exploring the figure enriches the recent dialogues around identity, family history, and the human condition. It is through this deeper understanding of the inheritances of our past and their resonance that we arrive at new insights and avenues of reflection. Chase Hall (b. 1993, St Paul, Minnesota, lives and works in New York and Los Angeles) was raised across Minnesota, Chicago, Las Vegas, Colorado, Dubai, Los Angeles and New York. Hall has been included in exhibitions at Kuntsthalle Basel in Switzerland, Museo Tamayo in Mexico, Various Small Fires in Los Angeles, The Mass in Tokyo, Cob Gallery in London and Museo Nacional de San Carlos in Mexico, among others. Chase has been an artist in residence at The Skowhegan school of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, The Atlantic Center for The Arts under Catherine Opie in Florida, The Mountain School of arts in Los Angeles, the Macedonia Institute in Hudson Valley and The Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin. Hall was recently nominated Forbes 30 under 30. Hall’s artwork has been featured in Vice, Vogue, ID, Dazed, Purple, Art Papers, Garage, The New York Times and T Magazine.

February James

We Laugh Loud So The Spirits Can Hear

451 North Paulina Street
Chicago, IL 60622

July 11, 2020 - August 22, 2020
moniquemeloche gallery is thrilled to announce tandem solo presentation of new works from artists Chase Hall and February James. Faced with navigating the new challenges introduced by the global pandemic, both Hall and James were offered a new entry point for intimate self-reflection, memorialized in these new bodies of work. February James is a self-taught artist whose work is rooted deeply in autobiographical narrative, exploring the factors that influence identity formation and the human condition to expose the hidden emotions that exist between what we see and what we experience. Compelled by what she describes as the broken places, James meditates less on the physicality of her figures, instead aiming to capture their true psychological essence. Devoid of formal construct, each smeared, distorted, and seemingly hollow portrait is equipped with a confronting gaze that brings viewers to the nexus between the authentic self and the conflicted self. We Laugh Loud So The Spirits Can Hear represents an intuitive shift through which James developed soft portraits, evocative of family members and familiar figures whose memory offers a sense of sanctuary and comfort. Segmented lines serve as linguistic tools that offer space for a deeper exploration of fragmentation within the human psyche, while a daring color palette of deep maroons conjures the sensation of life, blood pulsing through the veins. Each portrait feels like a memory charged with the oral histories and lessons their subjects passed along, while considering how truth is conditioned by the frameworks through which it is received. More specifically how our family legacies influence our everyday life, vulnerabilities, expectations, and experiences, and how we can achieve a sense of harmony with these inherited pathologies. While varied in their methodologies, each artist’s propensity for exploring the figure enriches the recent dialogues around identity, family history, and the human condition. It is through this deeper understanding of the inheritances of our past and their resonance that we arrive at new insights and avenues of reflection. February James (lives and works in Los Angeles) is an auto didactic artist from Washington, D.C. She works primarily in oil pastels with a penchant for watercolor and graphite powder. Recent exhibitions include Luce Gallery, Turin, Italy (2020); Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles, CA (2019); LatchKey Gallery, New York, NY (2019); Wilding Cran Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2019); Band of Vices, Los Angeles, CA (2018); Gregorio Escalante Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2017); and Papillion Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2015). Her work has appeared in various television broadcasts and print publications and has been acquired by institutions and private collections across the U.S. and abroad.

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