The power of pink and frosting in the Law Warschaw Gallery

The power of pink and frosting in the Law Warschaw Gallery

Em Aiydarus and Audrey Wuench

The Law Warschaw Gallery’s first in-person exhibition opening since the beginning of the pandemic took place Friday, Sept. 24. “Monochromatic Dreams” was originally set to be on display in the gallery in October 2020, but it was postponed until now. Yvette Mayorga, the exhibition’s artist, was the Law Warschaw Gallery’s fall 2020 guest artist, even though she was not able to physically display her work on campus. 

In addition to sharing Mayorga’s art on their social media, the Law Warschaw Gallery held a virtual conversation with Mayorga about her work in December 2020. Several photos of Mayorga’s pieces and past installations were shared on screen during that conversation, but pictures could only do so much in capturing the nuances in her work.

“So many of the pieces… you can just keep looking at them, and it’s just an endless wealth of things to notice in the fine details and the larger trends going on,” Jason Beal ’22, who attended the exhibition opening Friday, said. “I think you have to spend a lot of time looking at each one in order to even appreciate it a little bit.”

John Fillion ’23 was one of the student workers who helped set up the exhibition and enjoyed seeing the exhibition come together.

“It was really cool seeing the progression from it being a blank gallery space to something filled with beautiful works,” Fillion said.

Yvette Mayorga is a multi-disciplined artist based in Chicago, Ill. Mayorga gets her inspiration from socio-political dialogue centered on the immigrant experience. Her work explores the effects of militarization within and beyond the U.S./Mexico border. 

“Yvette created dedicadant art that lured the viewer into personal and timely statements about the Latino experience and immigration in the U.S.,” Fillion said.

Mayorga is also inspired by her family’s experiences with labor, which influences the details that she combines with confectioners materials and techniques, and found images to explore belonging. 

Another important aspect of Mayorga’s work is the color pink, which is often labeled as hyper-feminine. Rather, pink is a political material that can be a weapon. 

Mayorga’s emphasis on the color pink was what drew Ryan Cotter ’24 to check out the exhibition. Cotter was initially excited by the prevalence of her favorite color in the exhibition, which included the pink masks that were offered to each visitor at the opening, but was further captivated by all the hidden details in each of the pieces. Cotter also wanted to take advantage of having the chance to finally go to an in-person art gallery opening on campus. 

“With last year being my first year, there wasn’t a lot of in-person stuff,” Cotter said. “So it’s just exciting to do this as well.”

One of the first pieces that captures the eye of someone that walks into the exhibition is “Monuments of the Forgotten.” 

The work consists of an array of donated shoes plastered with a frosting technique, but the frosting, though realistic, is permanent. The work is a remembrance for unnamed immigrants who have traveled across the border, leaving behind personal items, such as shoes, on their journey across the border. The vast number of shoes in the piece symbolize the countless border crossers whose stories are left behind on their journey to the U.S. Mayorga uses rosette designs, the techniques of confectioners’ tools and piping styles to memorialize these forgotten stories.

Other pieces in “Monochromatic Dreams” show how Yvette’s work makes references to historical art traditions. An example of this is “Pinknologic Anxiety (After Francis Boucher, Madame de Pompadour, c.1755).” The work is a reference to the portrait of Madame de Pompadour painted by Francis Boucher, a celebrated 18th century French artist. The image includes baroque embellishments, rosettes and gold ornamentation. The exhibit is able to pick up different textures created with gold chains, with a phone as the focal point alongside an image of Madame de Baroque. The work creates a bridge between time and space. 

“Monochromatic Dreams” will be on display in the Law Warschaw Gallery from now until Dec. 5, 2021.