Living Large by Maria Vergara

January 27 – February 25, 2012
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 28, 5 – 8pm
Curated by Karen Azarnia

RAC presents Living Large, an exhibition of new paintings by Maria Vergara. Vergara’s previous work explores the public fascination with celebrity culture and decadence. As painter Susanna Coffey writes:

“The playful aspect of Maria Vergara’s work begins with the not so playful cult of celebrity, a cult that seems to be in control of our public imagination today. She twists and turns the painted queens, princesses, heiresses and movie stars until they and the worlds they inhabit look as grotesque as they really are.”

In her recent paintings, Vergara expands on themes of decadent materialism and excess. Depicting luxurious home interiors, she presents opulent rooms in the Baroque style. The patterns Vergara uses are intricate and compulsive, in an attempt to visually overwhelm the viewer. This use of pattern serves to signify excessive wealth and social status, or as Vergara states, to depict “expensive hoarders.” By referencing the art historical past, Vergara comments on current socio-economic issues. She also builds complex layers of meaning in the work, as the paintings embody contradictory impulses of pleasure, desire and revulsion.

Ms. Vergara received an MFA in Painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009, and a BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2005. She is the recipient of a Merit Scholarship from SAIC and has exhibited her work both locally and nationally.