Jul 23rd 2022

Very Disco

@ Andrew Rafacz

1749 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Opening Saturday, July 23rd, from 1PM - 3PM

On view through Saturday, September 3rd

“ the dance floor has been a potent symbol as well as a performative enactment of a world better than this one. The floors of dance venues have been repeatedly invoked by the denizens of nocturnal party-worlds as places of self-invention, experimentation, escape, comfort, refuge, transformation, connection, and communion. They are places where the injustices and indignities of everyday life can be not only be temporarily relieved but to some extent redressed…”

-Richard Dyer, In Defense of Disco

ANDREW RAFACZ is pleased to present Very Disco, an exhibition of work by Cindy Bernhard, Jessie Edelman, Catherine Haggarty, Molly Colleen O’Connell, and Trish Tillman, in Gallery One and Two. The exhibition opens Saturday, July 23rd and continues through Saturday, September 3rd, 2022.

Very Disco presents five artists whose work engages in a sense of discovery and addresses what it means to make art in a time – of major backlash, a moment that feels chaotic/even anticlastic – a time reminiscent of the last days of disco.

Very Disco—an anagram of discovery—is also Veridis Quo, a wordplay on the Latin phrase Quo Vadis. It is also a billboard read backwards. A dance floor. An album. A body in motion. Its disambiguous translation or phonetic nuance begins to pull at layers of meaning in a word. It asks: ‘where are you going?’ or ‘where are you marching?’ – What are you discovering? And to what end? What kind of word sense – for you -adds up to Very Disco ?

This exhibition brings these peculiar accumulations and pluralities to the dance floor. Each artist presented here captures fine elements of synchronicity through their unique relationships to materiality, content, and personal politic.

The idea of the exhibition is that these works – connect through space and time, there is a search for a material substrate – through memory, memorabilia, alter egos, or what hangs in the subconscious – in a (purely) generative way.

Very Disco asks – in 2022, what do we stand for? What do we question and what are we up against? How can we manage it all?


CINDY BERNHARD’S paintings glow with thermochromic colors. Her work is influenced by the plausible absurdities found in domestic interiors, and her relationship to the politics of humor and being. In her paintings ‘animals are caught in the act of genital licking, next to an image of Christ, all engulfed in the smoke from a smoldering joint’. Her paintings are full of heightened tensions and comedic relief, with each work leaning into notions of rituals with the hope of transcendence.

JESSIE EDELMAN’S impasto paintings are ripe with juicy flavors, composed elegantly with funky patterns and imagery, which guide the viewer through her compositions. In these works, mod interiors beckon while distant mountains and big skies exude a sense of calm. Objects meet architecture within the unusual juxtapositions of color and scale that create a dream space where one’s location is left floating.

CATHERINE HAGGARTY’S paintings reflect and mirror her life. The paintings refer to where she is – where she walks, sleeps and dreams. Her painting and drawing practice is inspired by referential and iterative form and space, which relate to varying modes of drawing. Using specific light sources and multiple perspectives at once, a conflating sense of space and time is reflected and shows there is not one truth or one way to read the compositions.

MOLLY COLLEEN O’CONNELL’S work imagines contemporary folk tales riddled with objects and characters that teeter between the comedic and grotesque. Incorporating crafting techniques such as candle making, felting, and papier-mâché, her vibrant installations seduce viewers into a hallucinatory realm. Personal and collective anxieties reflected in the work are eased by absurd humor and a cartooned distortion of the world.

TRISH TILLMAN’S work explores how nostalgia complicates and shifts our perspective of power within traumatic memories. Her work is influenced by the complicated family relationships that exist through the lens of these comforts of home and spaces of escape. By exposing the boundaries of what we hide and those relationships to desire and shame and repeated patterns of behavior, Tillman’s interests reconcile how we justify, accept and commemorate these modalities within ourselves and others.

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