“ 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?
– JENAL DOLSON
CINDY BERNHARD (American, b. 1989) lives and works in Chicago, IL. Bernhard received her BFA from the American Academy of Art in 2011 and her MFA from Laguna College of Art and Design in 2014. Recent solo exhibitions include Richard Heller (Santa Monica, CA), Shelter In Place Gallery (Boston, MA), and Vital Signs (Milwaukee, WI). Recent group exhibitions include EXPO Chicago with Richard Heller (Chicago, IL), and NADA NY with ANDREW RAFACZ (New York, NY), Richard Heller (Santa Monica, CA), Field Projects (New York, NY), Eve Leibe Gallery (London, UK), Lubeznik Center For The Arts (Michigan City, IN), Hyde Park Art Center (Chicago, IL), One After 909 (Chicago, IL), and the Bridgeport Art Center (Chicago, IL).
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 lives in New York. She received her MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2013. She has exhibited at Denny Dimin Gallery (New York, NY), ANDREW RAFACZ (Chicago, IL), The Suburban (Milwaukee, WI), Dirimart (Istanbul, Turkey), Bahamas Biennale (Detroit, MI), Anahita Art Gallery (Tehran, Iran), and Circuit 12 Contemporary (Dallas, TX). Edelman’s work has been reviewed or featured in i-D Magazine, The New York Times, The Art Newspaper, Vice, Brooklyn Magazine, Artnet News, and Vogue.
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 (American, b. 1984) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Haggarty earned her MFA from Mason Gross, Rutgers University in 2011. Recent solo exhibitions include Geary Contemporary (NY, NY), Massey Klein Gallery (NY, NY), This Friday Next Friday (Brooklyn, NY), Bloomsburg University (Bloomsburg, PA), One River School of Art and Design, Proto Gallery (Hoboken, NJ), and Look and Listen (Marseille, FR). Currently, Haggarty is an adjunct professor at The School of Visual Arts (SVA) and the Co-Founder and Director of The NYC Crit Club. Catherine has been a visiting artist and critic at MICA (2022), UCONN MFA (2022), RISD BFA (2022), Pratt BFA (2022), The University of Oregon (2021), Boston University MFA (2021), SUNY Purchase MFA (2020), Hunter MFA (2020), Denison University (2020), Brooklyn College MFA (2019) and in 2018 Haggarty was the Anderson Endowed Lecturer at Penn State University. Haggarty’s paintings and curatorial work have been reviewed by and featured in Bomb Magazine, Artnet, Hyperallergic, Two Coats of Paint, Brooklyn Magazine, The New York Times, Maake Magazine, Art Maaze Magazine, Art Spiel, Final Friday Podcast, Sound and Vision Podcast, The Black and White Project, Curating Contemporary’s book Eraser, and Young Space.
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 (American, b. 1986) is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, amateur clown and haunter based in Chicago, IL. She received her BFA in printmaking from Maryland Institute College of Art and her MFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago. MCO’s work has been performed, screened and exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), AALA Gallery (Los Angeles), Evening Hours (New York), Waiting Room Gallery (Tokyo), Julius Caesar (Chicago), Vox Populi (Philadelphia), Roots + Culture (Chicago), Silvermine Arts Center (Connecticut), MOHS Exhibit (Copenhagen), MoCCA (Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art), LA Chicago + New York Art Book Fair(s), and Evening Hours (New York). She was a recipient of the James Nelson Raymond fellowship in 2017. She has been an artist in residence at Vermont Studio Center, Acre Residency (Wisconsin), and Colorama Clubhouse (Berlin).
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 (Born in Chicago, IL, 1975) currently lives in Manhattan and maintains a studio in Brooklyn, NY. She holds an MFA from School of Visual Arts. Tillman’s work has been widely exhibited, including shows at Asya Geisberg Gallery (Ny, NY), Present Company (NY, NY), HILDE (Los Angeles, CA), Regina Rex (NY, NY), The Visual Arts Center of Richmond (VA), Emerson Dorsch, (Miami, FL), Tiger Strikes Asteroid (PA), Civilian Art Projects (DC) and Jawahar Kala Kendra (Jaipur, INDIA). She is a recipient of the Hopper Prize, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, a Fountainhead Residency, the VisArts + Quirk Residency and the Jaipur Kala Chaupal. Tillman’s work has been featured in several art fairs including FUTURE FAIR, UNTITLED, SPRING/BREAK and NADA. Her work has been reviewed in several publications including ARTFORUM, Sculpture Magazine, ArtFCity, Juxtapose and Artsy Magazine. Tillman is also an educator and has been a professor and lecturer at Monmouth University, George Washington University, the Corcoran School of Art, and Rutgers University. She has been on multiple panel discussions including the CAA Annual Conference, ArtTable, and the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
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.