Niffenegger fabricates a ghostly erotic club displaying
skeletal sculptures and distressed fabric shrounds, utilizing
both rooms of the gallery. This is her second solo show at Western
Exhibitions, opening with a free and open to the public reception
on Friday, September 6 from 5 to 8pm and running through
October 19, 2013.
Combining seductive unveiling with psychological and physical
deterioration, Niffenegger presents works that complicate notions
of the body, sculpture, clothing and painting. In Western Exhibitions’
front room, she presents three skeletal sculptures and a large
tapestry painting in an atmosphere of performative eroticism
that also recalls a minimalist dance club. Her back gallery
will function as an exclusive space, resembling a private dressing
Niffenegger's sculptures rest atop a tiled glass floor that
itself rests atop debris from her studio. It's at once slick
and dirty, like a dance floor in Hades. Her sculptures are bone-like
- warped steel rods, covered in epoxy clay - and curvaceous
at the same time, exotic skeletons striking a pose. They are
stripped of skin, clothes and identifying features. Placed on
the glass floor, they gesture in front of a full wall painting
that doubles as a backdrop, its stained fabric similar to the
“garments” hanging in the back room.
In the back room dyed and distressed fabrics hang; painting
hybrids Niffenegger has referred to in the past as "shrouds".
Hanging amid seating and illuminated by light from behind private
curtain, the shrouds also function as clothing, skins and spirits,
all referencing the residual imprint of the body. The work in
both rooms focuses on the ephemeral state of the feminine figure
in contemporary society as Niffenegger stages her effigies in
various states of undress and distress. They flux between statuesque
and formless, sentient and petrified through the restyling of
elements: steel, fabric, and flesh.
Rachel Niffenegger recently returned to United
States after a nine-month residency at DE ATELIERS in Amsterdam.
While in Europe, she presented a solo show at Club Midnight
in Berlin and was included in group shows at Museum for Modern
Art in Arnhem and Bourouina Gallery in Berlin. She has been
included in group shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art in
Chicago, Tracy Williams Ltd in NYC , Ceri Hand Gallery in Liverpool,
and in Chicago at Corbett vs. Dempsey, Andrew Rafacz Gallery
and the Hyde Park Art Center. Chicago Magazine named her "Chicago's
Best Emerging Artist" in 2010 and New City named her one
of "Chicago's Next Generation of Image Makers" in
2010, this after naming her the "Best Painter Under 25"
in 2009. Niffenegger, born in Evanston in 1985, received her
BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her
MFA from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois in 2012.