Jake Troyli (b. 1990, lives and works in Chicago) investigates the construction of otherness and the commodification of the black/brown body, confronting and exploring labor capitalism and sweat equity as a demonstration of value, challenging the erroneous notion that it is only through arduous performances of labor that value and importance are earned. Troyli utilizes the absurd as an entry point into larger considerations of identity and masculinity. Depicting humorous scenes grounded in the language of classical painting, he inserts his own body as an elastic avatar, able to move through various surfaces and vignettes. Referencing the common social practice of code switching –the practice of alternating between varieties of language–Troyli examines the intricacies of his own identity as a biracial man whilst inhabiting different spaces. Presented at a time when the black body is at the height of socio-political discord, Troyli’s work is not necessarily in response to contemporary unrest, but to an eternal debate surrounding the commodification of blackness.The images carefully draw viewers in with a comic sensibility, an entry point to critique the capitalist systems that relegate the black body to be valued as a highly visible yet somewhat disposable form of capital, a legacy of inequality established hundreds of years ago, that still persists today. Troyli’s novel approach creates a platform to engage in the larger conversations surrounding racial discord, black male stereotypes, and our own roles within these systems.

Monique Meloche founded her eponymous gallery in Chicago in 2001 with an international roster of emerging artists working in all media. Diverse and inclusive since its inception, the gallery promotes politically minded contemporary art, aiming to be a bellwether for artistic talents early or under-recognized in their careers. Taking a curatorial approach, we present conceptually challenging programming in Chicago and at art fairs internationally with an emphasis on institutional outreach. The gallery has grown from being locally recognized as one of the best in Chicago, to being respected internationally with our artists collected by public institutions worldwide.

Monique Meloche Gallery

451 N Paulina Street,
Chicago, IL, 60622

Phone: +1 312 243 2129