Recycled Romance, a group exhibition featuring an array of midwest talent, made its debut back in late June. While most art exhibits are displayed within a museum or gallery-like setting, the show collaborated with Lincoln Park eatery Mesa Urbana, offering food and drink options to pair with the experience. Participating artists had the option to create works either made from recycled materials, or inspired by summer romance and heartbreak.
The show is divided between two rooms, with a transitional area at the entrance featuring work from Chicago street artist Rawooh. In a more casual setting, new work from BLK JHN and Jason Farley are highlighted in the venue's lounge area.
Venturing into Mesa Urbana's dining room, serving as the main viewing area, the artwork is more focused on the recycling aspect of the show. Here you'll find a new creation from artist Jenny Vyas, with beach sand blended into a piece she titled LAMINA.
Elsewhere in the space, artist Derek Christensen uses his signature technique of cutting license plates into prominent pop culture figures. He's joined by south side Chicago creative Roger J. Carter, who took the recycling theme to a new level by using computer keys, broken records, toy soldiers, skateboards, and refurbished frames within his collection.
For the final layer of the curation, artists Michael Keum and Diego Penuela added a visual garnish to top off the roster with a few unique additions. Keum, a Detroit native, created images of both lust and fantasy using a lesser-known technique called relief carving. Diego, a Columbian illustrator currently residing in Chicago, painted a highly detailed piece titled The Fall, an emotional depiction of the seasonal change that lies ahead.
The placement of the exhibit at a restaurant allows for two audiences as opposed to one: those who love dining out and those who appreciate artwork from rising talent. It also gives the collaborating artists temporary relief from the gallery jurisdiction they normally face, which typically consists of a 50% commission structure and binding contracts; those rules don't apply here.
Recycled Romance has extended to be on view until August 14th at Mesa Urbana (1935 N Lincoln Park W, Chicago, IL). You can also see available work in detail online. Reservations are not mandatory but encouraged for those adding food to their viewing experience.