The Rhinestone Cowboy Sings the Blues, 2016, HD video, 3 minutes
About the Exhibition
Lilly McElroy grew up in southern Arizona, surrounded by cliché representations of her own experiences. There were cowboys riding bulls, coyotes howling on moonlit nights, beautiful sunsets, and vicious brawls. She’s translated those experiences into epic photographs and playfully antagonistic videos. The artistic projects she pursues are a reflection of her complex relationship with the American West and explores what it means to be an American in a time of diminished expectations. She performs for the camera, enacting gestures that reflect a sense of quixotic hopefulness as well as a desire for control over subjects as ungovernable as nature. Her performances take a variety of forms and allow her to engage with others or insert herself into the landscape. It is though these projects that she attempts to develop authentic ties to her own experiences, to give the cliché new and personal meaning.
Lilly McElroy (born 1980, in Willcox, Arizona) received her MFA for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006, and her BFA from the University of Arizona in 2003. Her recent solo exhibitions include The Suburban, Milwaukee, WI (2017); Practice Gallery, Philadelphia, PA (2017); and Figge Art Museum, Davenport, IA (2016). McElroy will soon participate in a group exhibition at Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, ME (2018), and has recently screened her videos at Manhattan Bridge Anchorage, Brooklyn, NY and Kemper Museum, Kansas City, (2017); and UB Art Galleries, Buffalo, NY (2017). She has had artist residencies at he Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown (2008) and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2006). McElroy’s work is in the public collections of The Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, IN; and FIGGE Art Museum, Davenport, IA; and has been reviewed in The Huffington Post, Slate, Artforum, Aperture, and Elle, among many others. She is currently a professor at Kansas City Art Institute.