Curated by Karen Azarnia
January 27 – February 25, 2012
Saturday January 28, 5:00 – 8:00pm.
The Riverside Arts Center presents Living Large, an exhibition of new paintings by Maria Vergara.
Vergara’s previous work explores the public fascination with celebrity culture and decadence. As
painter Susanna Coffey writes:
“The playful aspect of Maria Vergara’s work begins with the not so playful cult of celebrity, a cult that seems to be in control of our public imagination today. She twists and turns the painted queens, princesses, heiresses and movie stars until they and the worlds they inhabit look as grotesque as they really are.”1
In her recent series of paintings, Vergara expands on themes of decadent materialism and excess. Depicting luxurious home interiors, she presents opulent rooms in the Baroque style. The viewer is invited into the Paris mansion of fashion designer Yves Saint Lauren, a museum reproduction of Marie Antoinette’s chambers, as well as King George IV’s bedchamber in Windsor Castle.
Working from photographic source material, Vergara carefully edits the interiors. She includes the objects she finds most appealing, inserting her own patterns onto the carpets, walls and ceilings. This culling and collaging of elements serves to indulge her own fantasies in an act of world-making, allowing the artist to create her own personal world of luxury.
At the same time, the patterns Vergara uses are intricate and compulsive, in an attempt to visually overwhelm the viewer. This use of pattern serves to signify excessive wealth and social status, or as Vergara states, to depict “expensive hoarders.” By referencing the art historical past, Vergara comments on current socio-economic issues. She also builds complex layers of meaning in the work, as the paintings embody contradictory impulses of pleasure, desire and revulsion.
This exhibition is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 1 – 5pm. For additional information, visit www.riversideartscenter or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 Source: Coffey, S. (2010, December 26). The Unbeautiful. Susanna Coffey. Retrieved December 5, 2011, from http://www.susannacoffey.com/?cat=7.
Ms. Vergara received an MFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009, and a BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2005. She is the recipient of a Merit Scholarship from SAIC and has exhibited her work both locally and nationally, including the Sullivan Galleries (Chicago), the Gaucho Social Club (Chicago), and Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts (New York).