When Maddie Reyna was a girl she fantasized about living in the mall. She would occupy a small gift shop and not alter the interior other than the addition of a bed. The shopping public would no long be allowed in the store, but could see Maddie living her domestic life among the objects once sold there. For Roman Susan, this fantasy was built upon. The paintings depict flowers that can’t grow indoors, beds made out of sand, ghosts (or more accurately, a boner under a sheet) and present a tone that is naive about domesticity and functionality.
The 18 foam core paintings, collectively titled We Want x5, display objects that were shoplifted from stores for young women. Bejeweled iPhone cases were sought out specifically because of the soft protest they represent against the ubiquitous authority of the naked phone, made possible by its utilitarian design. The cases can give your phone, and yourself, the illusion of a unique identity. The cases also disrupt its functionality and the installation in the gallery aims to mimic this disruption. Spacing each painting in the series evenly throughout the space both calls attention to and overpowers the awkward areas of the exhibition space.
We Want x5 is taken from 2013’s song-of-the-summer We Can’t Stop by Miley Cyrus. In the song she relies only on the pronoun “we”, subconsciously reminding her peers of the power in collective their wants.
Maddie Reyna (b. 1987) lives and works in Chicago. She is a co-director of Julius Caesar, an artist-run space in Garfield Park (juliuscaesarchicago.net) and director of Dreamboat, a residential exhibition space in her home in Pilsen (dreamboat-usa.com). She received her MFA in Painting and Drawing from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 2013. Her work can be seen in September in a solo exhibition at Dreamboat (Chicago) and currently in a two-person show with Jakey Goudreault at Borderline (Milwaukee).