Thomas Robertello Gallery is pleased to present Memory Palaces; an exhibition of new drawings by Chicago-based artist Edie Fake. Comprised of fifteen drawings, Fake's first solo show in Chicago is a city built from two places or directions: a series of gateways for departed friends and vividly patterned architectural spaces re-imagining Chicago's queer history.
In his ecstatic gateways, Fake pays tribute, mourns the loss of, and meditates on the lives of departed friends. The ballpoint pen and gouache drawings take the form of thresholds, passageways, and transitional spaces using visually striking patterns and fantasy architecture. Fake's pictorial spaces expand and collapse, memorializing lives and building a community of celebratory facades in honor of his friends.
Taken from fragments of Chicago's buildings and history, Fake recreates and reincarnates the spaces once associated with LGBTI newspapers, feminist clinics, dance clubs, social spaces, punk venues, theaters, and other imagined spaces. Among the historic spaces from Chicago's past depicted here are the Newberry Theatre - a gay xxx movie theater in the 1970s, Nightgowns - a queer artist space on the south side in the early 2000s, JANE - a radical undercover abortion service established in Chicago from 1969-1973, Killer Dyke - 1971 newspaper from Northeastern IL University, Blazing Star - newspaper and group based in the Chicago Women's Liberation Union (CWLU) mid-1970s, La Mere Vipere - a gay bar on Halsted that became a pivotal venue in Chicago's early punk scene (burned down in 1978), The Snake Pit - former Chicago gay bar (1970s), and Club LaRay - gay dance club and hub for dance music and voguing in the 80s.
Since moving back to Chicago in 2009, Fake's artistic practice has centered around synthesizing the city's gay history with a visionary landscape for the queer present. The buildings in his drawings are not about nostalgia for a lost time, instead, they are about re-awakening the impulse to create physical space for queer voices, lives and politics. They are decidedly shaped by real buildings in Chicago. Like the city itself, the buildings drawn are visually striking: ornate and formal details merged with the eclectic aesthetics of hand-painted signs, weathered awnings and makeshift repairs. The drawings engage the viewer with the history of a community in a way that inspires both investigation and response. These pieces act as visual bridges between former incarnations of local queer initiatives and blueprints for new and necessary resources.