Galerie Division is pleased to present Chloe Wise’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.
Working in an array of media, from video, to sculpture, to painting, Wise explores the interwoven paths that consumption and desire take towards identity formation. Wise conflates so-called “guilty” commercial, gastronomical, and sexual pleasures—it bags, carb-rich breakfast foods, and fetish gear— creating imagined hybrids of frivolity and excess. Cast in urethane, strikingly painted with trompe l’oeil effects, and re-contextualized as art objects, food and fashion are rid of their use value and are planted firmly in the symbolic. Now operating as mere representations of luxury and empty calories, these consumptive goods’ aesthetic and seductive charges are forefronted. The tactile surfaces of syrupy bread and recognizable leather and chain vie for our veneration in a cornucopia of desirability.
The title of the exhibition is taken from Lauren Berlant’s essay “Two Girls, Fat and Thin” in which the queer theorist underscores how habits around eating and sex are molded, depended on, and disrupted. Wise looks to the nexus of personal and collective desires, expounding on (rather than confirming or denying the importance of) our varied attachments. With humor and biographical winks, Wise addresses how we are bound to the things we want, despite our refusal of them and their seeming triviality. Pushed into relationships that mirror the arbitrariness of popular trends—Judaism and fetish gear, Fragonard and Dior—these harbingers of identity float in a pool of empty signification.
In an economy that purports to being rational and calculated, Wise mischievously points at the disorderly system that underpins the marketing and codifications of commodities. Offer Ending Soon!, a video in which a diverse group of models enticingly advertise nothing in particular, emphasizes the permeation of consumerism at all turns while also stressing its necessary vacuity.
Born in Montreal, Chloe Wise lives and works in New York. In 2014, her work was included in the Last Brucennial, New York, Nordic Lights, Sweden, and Frieze London in conjunction with Salon 94. In addition to solo exhibitions at Division Gallery in Montreal and Toronto, Wise’s work will be included in Daata Editions at Frieze and NADA NYC in 2015.