Continuing through March 23, 2017
The sweet, buttery scent of frosting lures us into CAC’s project room, where we’re confronted first with the cut-out, glitter-covered words “GO BACK” hung from a gilded rope upon a fuchsia-colored wall. This push-and-pull, this alternately enticing and repelling dichotomy, is the basis for Chicago-based artist Yvette Mayorga’s exhibition “The Politics of Desire.” Here, Mayorga has transformed the white cube into her Candyland-inspired installation of paintings, objects and furniture encrusted with sparkles and tchotchkes, all held together with acrylic medium piped to resemble decorative cake frosting.
Within this over-the-top birthday party aesthetic lies the artist’s complex messages about the immigrant experience in the U.S., especially as it relates to people crossing the border from Mexico. In her dense, multimedia relief paintings, a skewed perspective makes it appear as though the homey interiors are about to slide out of the picture; the enormous “cake” sculptures are too off kilter, their sweet-looking goodness intermingled with plastic flowers, house slippers and other vernacular items that threaten to topple the whole construction. Mayorga’s work captures the precarious nature of life for immigrants in the U.S. particularly at this very moment, where joys and comforts exist alongside uncertainty and anxiety. This exhibition also hinges upon the fact that the excitement of a party is only temporary, begging the question: what happens when the “party” of the American Dream is over?