Oct 21st 2016

We Have a Back Room With Other Things

@ Heaven Gallery

1550 N Milwaukee Ave, Fl 2nd, Chicago, Illinois 60622 (2nd floor)

Opening Friday, October 21st, from 7PM - 11PM

On view through Saturday, December 3rd

We Have a Back Room With Other Things

Mel Cook and Megan Stroech address the conceptual space of the conventional through a combination of images, objects and replications. Taking a skewed glance at domesticity and the production of place, their collaboration makes various gestures towards a generalization of home that is at once political, satirical, man-made and personal.

Both artists make work that is most comfortable communicating indirectly. Megan Stroech’s irreverent approach to material and the appropriation of luxury puts her work both at odds with authenticity and squarely embedded in it. By straddling humor and earnestness, the real and the fake, and the original and the reproduced, she initiates a conversation between high and low culture that invites the viewer to have the last say. Like Stroech’s sculptural compositions and installations, Mel Cook’s paintings disrupt traditional models of space. Cook’s work is often evasive, gesturing loosely towards the political of the everyday and the construct of place-making, while embracing the way images often fail in their attempts to articulate. Permanence collapses into suggestion, and desire for the represented object quickly switches to ambivalence.

If both artists’ work moves towards a translation of home, it is one mediated.

Mel Cook is a visual artist currently living and working in Chicago, Illinois. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio in 2009 and attended Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois where she received her Master of Fine Arts in Painting in 2012. She has previously taught at Illinois State University and Illinois Central College. She currently teaches at Marwen in Chicago, Illinois. Her work has been featured in Art in Print, Studio Visit magazine, and most recently in New American Paintings, Midwest ed. No 125. This year she was a participant in The Center Program at Hyde Park Art Center and a resident at Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture. Most recently her work has been exhibited at The Hyde Park Art Center.

Megan Stroech is an artist living and working in Chicago, IL. Stroech received her MFA in Printmaking with Exceptional Merit from Illinois State University in 2012, and her BFA in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008. Stroech was a recent artist in residence at the Wassaic Project (Wassaic, NY) and has completed artist residencies at Chicago Artist Coalition’s HATCH Projects (Chicago, IL) and ACRE (Steuben, WI). Stroech has been a featured artist in the contemporary art publications: Artforum, Hyperallergic, LVL3 Media, and New American Paintings. Some recent exhibitions include: Ortega Y Gasset Projects (Brooklyn, NY), PULSE Contemporary Art Fair (Miami Beach, FL), Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (Austin, TX), Fernwey (Chicago, IL), ROCKELMANN& (Berlin, Germany), The SUB-MISSION (Chicago), and Anderson Ranch Arts Center (Snowmass, CO), where she was an artist-in- residence in 2012

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