cruel summer
June 22 – August 3, 2019
Gallery One

Exhibition Text


ANDREW RAFACZ is pleased to announce cruel summer, a solo exhibition of works by Matthew Hilshorst, in Gallery One.

Chicago, IL, June 22, 2019– ANDREW RAFACZ continues the 2019 season with cruel summer, a solo exhibition of new works by New York-based artist Matthew Hilshorst. The exhibition continues through Saturday, August 3, 2019.

An unwanted visitor has entered my home. They have severed communication, destroyed sentimentality, manipulated reality, and turned nostalgia into cynicism.

Matthew Hilshorst’s cruel summer explores the loss of innocence and the way sentimentality misrepresents the past. Ignoring what is going on politically, environmentally, and socially is an intentional fight against reality, which is why nostalgia is both tantalizing and fatal. Working sculpturally with acrylic paint, the artist creates objects inspired by podcasts, television shows, and documentaries about murder, kidnapping, and other crimes. Playfully appropriating the visual language of summertime and capturing a nefarious narrative in the middle of its action, a towel reading ‘Life’s a Beach’ drapes languidly over a plinth, corded landline telephones have their handsets taken off the hook, and a slashed window screen rotates slowly on a pedestal.

Hilshorst’s practice has always been indebted to the weight of time and space. With the constant crush of gravity, the passage of time, and the increasing heat of another summer, everything for him seemingly becomes distorted. Like a real intruder, the news of the day can easily consume our lives. It has violated ideals, damaged relationships, strained perceptions of what is normal, and dredged up fear and anxiety.

This exhibition serves as a collection of clues to a larger mystery about our current state of affairs. Are we in for another cruel summer?

MATTHEW HILSHORST (American, b. 1979) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He received a BFA from the University of Minnesota in 2002 and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006. He has shown work at Heaven Gallery (Chicago, IL), Andrew Rafacz Gallery (Chicago, IL), Slow Gallery (Chicago, IL), Bureau (New York, NY), Shoot the Lobster (New York, NY), and Sidecar Gallery (Hammond, IN). This is his first exhibition with the gallery.