Chicago Artists Coalition is pleased to present AfterGlow, a solo exhibition by BOLT Artist-in-Residence, Melissa Leandro.
AfterGlow presents the work of Chicago based artist Melissa Leandro as she reflects on specific familial and cultural realities that coalesce experiences from her everyday life and family histories. Leandro’s exhibition introduces a hodgepodge of domestic vignettes through the use of uniquely upholstered furniture, woven and embroidered textiles, collaged plastic tablecloths, and plaster sculptures created by herself and father.
Leandro leads us through an alternate reality that is both inspired by and at odds with the idea of, “where we call Home.” She is influenced by family memories of her mother working as a housekeeper, her grandfather’s house in Costa Rica, and her present day collecting of knick-knacks, mementos, personal ephemera and detritus during her travels within and outside of the US. Leandro translates a collection of drawn marks and cyanotype prints to imbue familiar household objects with her lived experiences. Her exhibition brings together motifs and objects of domestic life that are both sentimental and gaudy, specifically presenting the viewer with a hyper-vivid, and outlandish living room setting that echoes Leandro’s hybrid culture as a first-generation US citizen moving between Costa Rica, Miami, Chicago, and abroad.
By employing materials that have a relationship to domestic spaces — the home, the kitchen, the family room — her installation twists assumptions on how we perceive decorative patterns, kitsch imagery, and cheap, domestic consumable materials. These printed plastics and woven cloths, often used for cheap décor in the home, have the ability to take on a different cultural status that disconnects them from their intended home and function, and leads us to an otherworldly setting.
THIS EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
Melissa Leandro (b. 1989, Miami, FL) is an artist who works between the media of drawing, painting, and textiles. Leandro’s woven and embroidered surfaces explore her composite cultural identity through means of intuitive mark-making. Reflecting on her family memories, past and present travels, she considers how her environments fragment identity and place.
Leandro was awarded the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship (2017) and the EAGER Grant for research and collaboration (2016, Shapiro Center), both for her studio work at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). She was awarded the Luminarts Fellowship (2017) from the Luminarts Cultural Foundation, Union League of Chicago. Leandro was a BOLT resident at the Chicago Artist Coalition for 2017-18, and was named one of Chicago’s Break Out Artists of the year for 2018. Her studio work is featured in LUXE, Luxe Interiors + Design Magazine as part of their Chicago Style Maker edition (June 2018).
Leandro has attended ACRE Residency, Wisconsin, Roger Brown House Residency, Michigan, The Weaving Mill, Chicago and TextielLab, The Netherlands and the Jacquard Center, North Carolina. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, and is currently represented by Andrew Rafacz Gallery in Chicago. She holds a BFA and MFA from SAIC and is currently teaching at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as Lecturer and is the Assistant Director title of the Fiber Material Studies department.