Cheryl Pope | BASKING NEVER HURT NO ONE

by Hannah Jackson

To many, sprawling out in the sun seems like a traditional summer pastime. But to Cheryl Pope, the act itself is a socio-political commentary. The artist depicts herself in a state of semi-anonymity through a series of wool roving which is needle-punched onto cashmere. Laying out in the sun with her lover, within their bodily entanglement, the contrast between the beiges and whites of Pope’s female figure and the brown and black tones of the male figure celebrates a biracial relationship. Though this series is far more personal and intimate than Pope’s past works, she still ponders the implications of the nude interaction between black and white bodies.

Cheryl Pope “Woman and Man Reclining on Striped Mat XII” (2019). Needle-punched wool roving on cashmere, 65 in x 48 3/4 in. Courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.

Cheryl Pope “Woman and Man Reclining on Striped Mat XII” (2019). Needle-punched wool roving on cashmere, 65 in x 48 3/4 in. Courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.

Pope’s pieces are visually engaging. The spiraling pieces of fiber that are painstakingly placed and needle-punched down through their cashmere base, are eye-catching and bold. It is noteworthy that Pope left both bodies faceless—perhaps allowing others to see themselves in her work and engaging with the innate human desire for love and companionship.

Cheryl Pope “Woman and Man Reclining on Striped Mat X” (2019). Needle-punched wool roving on cashmere, 48 1/4 in x 70 in. Courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.

Cheryl Pope “Woman and Man Reclining on Striped Mat X” (2019). Needle-punched wool roving on cashmere, 48 1/4 in x 70 in. Courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.

This exhibition points to a diversity in Pope’s work, building upon her previous practices from pencil drawings to installations and to sculpture. BASKING NEVER HURT NO ONE runs until August 17th at Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago.