Iris Bernblum: Various Pleasures

Opening: Sunday, Apr 23, 2023 3 – 6 pm
Sunday, Apr 23 – Jun 3, 2023

319 N. Albany
Chicago, Il 60612

Goldfinch is thrilled to present its second exhibition with Iris Bernblum, and Bernblum's first solo show with the Gallery. "Various Pleasures" features approximately ten new watercolor, graphite and acrylic works on paper along with six new sculptures whose forms echo that of the artists' own body at various moments in life. Some of the sculptures are made from paraffin wax, custom scent and custom color while others are formed with plaster, with the addition of wigs, jewelry, and artificial flowers.

Of these works, Bernblum says "for me, these pieces are kind of a mash-up of 'aspirational everything.' I knew from the beginning I wanted them to be candle adjacent…but not candles. I wanted them to hold scent and have weight, like the body, but behave like a design object. I didn’t initially know how the wax was going to work. It’s the first time I’ve used it as a material, and after a pretty intense learning curve, I fell in love with it. I love its texture, which is almost skin-like. I love the way it holds color and scent, and I love the play on both wax figures and candles."

Based in Chicago, Bernblum works across disciplines and media to create conceptually based work influenced by her interest in psychoanalysis. She explores ideas around human nature, power and vulnerability, focusing primarily on the way we frame our sense of self in regard to gender, sexuality, pleasure and desire. Bernblum has a strong investment in performative based work, although more as a voyeur than an actor, and she always invites her viewers to play a role in interpreting what they see.

Works in Various Pleasures are arranged in a manner that nods to living rooms and other domestic environs. "Each piece will be placed almost like décor…a kind of beautiful, violent décor," Bernblum notes. "I’ve also been thinking a lot about ‘taste’. 'Good taste,' 'bad taste,' and the ways these ideas affirm and display our place in society. I guess for me, ultimately, I think of them as a play on the design object. They’re something between beautiful and revolting. I like that space in-between. It’s very generative for me."

Iris Bernblum would like to extend a very special thank you to Romi Crawford, Lucy Wood Baird, Janine Larivier, Randy Myers, Blair Taylor, Benjamin Tischer, Alissa Schapiro and Mat Mancini, "for helping to make my dream a reality."

Click here to read the Q&A with Iris Bernblum conducted by Elizabeth Lalley