Spanning painting, sculpture, installation, and video, Yvette Mayorga’s work flaunts a maximalist aesthetic rooted in personal narrative and familial histories to examine the Mexican American or Latinx experience in the United States. Mimicking the confectionary labors performed by her mother when she worked as a baker in a department store in the 1970s after immigrating to the US, Mayorga uses bakery-grade piping bags to thickly apply her signature bubblegum pink acrylics to varying sized canvases.
The color pink is central to her practice, dominating the works with an in-your-face monochromatic presence that celebrates and commands femme power. Mayorga’s elaborate, candied reliefs lure you into a world of excess where Rococo-inspired elements abound: lavish trimmings, gilded scrollwork, and architectural ornament. Yet under the veil of its saccharine guises, Mayorga’s storytelling offers a glimpse into the grim realities of pursuing the American Dream. Her compositions chronicle the Mexican American and Latinx diaspora experience, ranging from issues of border control, surveillance, and labor, to growing up in the Midwest as a first-generation Mexican American woman—all while recontextualizing a Western-centric art historical point of view. The multifaceted works explore the intersection of immigration, feminism, identity, and colonialism. Swirling with eighteenth-century French opulence, the content in Mayorga’s compositions conversely reference the interiors of the working class neighborhoods from her youth. The often-featured smiley faces, toy soldiers, McDonald’s French fries, blinged-out hands fitted with acrylic nails, cell phones, gold name plaque charms, and orange Fanta sodas, among others, are ironic gestures of American consumption superimposed on Latinx bodies.
This exhibition marks Mayorga’s first solo museum exhibition on the East coast and will include a combination of new and borrowed works from varying series over the last seven years. The artist’s first museum catalogue will accompany the exhibition, featuring an essay by the curator, Caitlin Monachino.
Yvette Mayorga: Dreaming of You is curated by Caitlin Monachino, Curatorial and Publications Manager.
Yvette Mayorga was born in 1991 in Moline, Illinois, and lives and works in Chicago. She holds a BFA from the University of Illinois and an MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited at the Vincent Price Art Museum, DePaul Art Museum, El Museo del Barrio, the Center for Craft, the Museo Universitario del Chopo, and LACMA's Pacific Standard Time:LA/LA. In 2020–21, her work was included in ESTAMOS BIEN: LA TRIENAL 20/21 and acquired by El Museo del Barrio as part of the inaugural survey of contemporary Latinx art. Currently, Mayorga is working on a large-scale commission for the City of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport’s Terminal 5 public art project. Mayorga’s first solo museum exhibition What a Time to be will debut fall of 2022 at Crystal Bridges’ satellite space, The Momentary, in Bentonville, AR. She has been featured in Artforum, Artnet, Art in America, Art News, Galerie Magazine, Hyperallergic, Teen Vogue, The Guardian, and The New York Times. Her works are in the permanent collections of the DePaul Art Museum, El Museo del Barrio, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.
Generous support for Yvette Mayorga: Dreaming of You is provided by the Amadeo Family and Geary. Significant support is provided by Maria Eugenia Maury and Abby Pucker. Additional support is provided by Diana Bowes and Jim Torrey and The Cowles Charitable Trust. The catalogue is supported by the Eric Diefenbach and James-Keith Brown Publications Fund. Production support is provided by the Diana Bowes and Jim Torrey Commissions Fund.
Top image: Yvette Mayorga: Dreaming of You (installation view), The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, September 15, 2023 to March 17, 2024. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Jason Mandella