Hot pinks and sugary detritus dominate the installations of Chicago-based artist Yvette Mayorga. In her most recent show, entitled The Politics of Desire and presented at the Chicago Artists Coalition, she uses a variety of mediums to comment on the inaccessibility of the American Dream for Mexican immigrants crossing borderlands. Her ongoing project, Borderland Series, communicates a narrative that encompasses the experiences of immigrant citizens from a variety of oppressed ethnicities. Through a wide array of media, ranging from acrylic painting to found objects, The Politics of Desire invites viewers to engage in a socio-political dialogue that would ordinarily be invisible in the white walls of a gallery space.
Within the excessive layering of frosting and found objects, Mayorga presents a bold critique of American capitalism, state-sanctioned violence, and the uncertainty of Mexican citizenship. By using strategies that actively silence the white American male gaze, her work overwhelms the viewer with signifiers that represent immigrant rituals of celebration.
Mayorga’s art practice originally began as an artistic venture to re-contextualize the board game Candy Land as a platform to critique the politics of the U.S/Mexico Border. Mayorga said, “I realized art was a platform for social activism when I began to tell my family’s story of immigrating to the United States, along with viewing the work of Pepon Osorio for the first time, I realized that the home is political.”
Through her current BOLT residency, her artistic practice has blossomed into sculptural canvases representative of domestic spaces pulled from childhood memory and America’s collective unconscious. Mayorga stated, “Now my work is open, honest, and aggressive in the ways that I am tackling, head on, the difficult issues of immigration alongside my family’s traumatic history of immigrating here. I now have found my voice in my work, and being able to tell the story of my dad’s labor and crossing has been fundamental to creating work that is honest.”
Currently on view in the CAC's BOLT Gallery is Kaveri Raina's "Gods do Handstands, Spices Simmer".
FEATURE: Yvette Mayorga, “Stilettos, After I Made America Sweet Again,” 2017, plaster, cake toppers, textile, acrylic, 6ft x 2.5ft (size variable)
INSET: Yvette Mayorga, “Bedroom after 15th Birthday,” 2016, plaster piping on wood, acrylic, fur, tinfoil, artist selfie, soldier, and American flag, 24in x 36in