In her first solo exhibition in Chicago, artist Maggie Crowley presents a new series of large figurative paintings in acrylic on silk in which she examines her admiration and personal connection to the service industry. Uniforms and accessories, like safety vests, helmets, and coolers, identify public workers and render them visible, while conducting labor that is considered invisible. Crowley considers this contradiction as it relates to the value placed on essential work – a discrepancy recently heightened in the US by the pandemic.
The exhibition title, Playmate references the portable Igloo cooler beloved by laborers. The artist chose the object as a symbol of care, foresight, and independence of the skilled work force. Maggie Crowley is an alumni of the Art Center’s exhibition Ground Floor 2014 and co-founder of the alternative gallery, Produce Model.
Image above: Maggie Crowley, Sidewalk Closed, 2020, acrylic on silk woven, 78 x 50 inches (approximate). Courtesy of the artist.