Walking into Flesh Club is like entering the aftermath of a rave where the party detritus is both glamourous and haunting. This is the latest exhibition by Rachel Niffenegger at Western Exhibitions. Originally from Evanston, Niffenegger has a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, an MFA from Northwestern University, and currently practices in her Chicago studio. Niffenegger has also recently been a featured artist in the Chicago at Work lecture series.
Niffenegger, with an undeniable background in painting, explores the relationship between fabric and sculptural forms in Flesh Club. The bodily quality of her surfaces allows the artist to transform these inert materials into skin and skeleton. The show is divided into two rooms, what I would consider the show space, and the dressing room. In the front decaying skeletons crawl across a glass floor that is equal parts sparkle and danger. A backdrop is stretched beyond the dance floor that recalls a curious animal hide. I wonder what became of the beast this enormous pelt represents and what it means for the creatures dancing before it. In the ‘dressing room’ sheaths of fabric hang on three racks offering three different skins to inhabit. Imagine what sorts of wild identities each of these costumes would bring out in the wearer, and what sorts of fantastic rituals they have been participant in. All together these pieces conjure up an atmosphere of the club after the lights come on.
The show closes this weekend so hurry over to check it out and keep an eye out for future shows by listing the artist’s website at http://rachelniffenegger.com/.