It would be easy to trace Chloé Elizabeth Maratta’s artistic, music, and fashion lineage within a history of cultural references, regional punk movements, 90’s girl power, et cetera. But the work in Wasteland is actually about friendship and the rogue, survivalist, micro-families that artists form. Chloé and her best friend Flannery met during their first year of “you-can-be-anything” art school–and when they immediately felt freaked out by the academic pretenses, faux-philosophy, and charade of the whole thing, they decided to form a band instead. Odwalla88 has since gained a cult following, touring nationally and releasing no shortage of handmade, custom merch of all ilks. This life of getting dressed up for the show, making small-run multiples, and developing a shared Oddwally vernacular with Flannery has served as Maratta’s pathway back to producing artworks heavily inspired by her daily life.
Maratta’s panels and tables are made from an irreverent combination of fashion, persona-making, photography, and collage. She starts by dressing up Flannery in a range of found, altered, and original clothing–the resulting “looks” could be described as bad-itude fashion for the lived absurdity and occasional ugliness of being a young woman artist. Flannery appears confident in the images–her attractive, youthful body expertly made strange and anti-desirable, standing in the necks of three XL t-shirts as a makeshift skirt.
These photographs function both as image and ground, as they are adhered to wooden panels like a wheat-pasted show poster on a boarded city window, and then further adorned with found print materials and accessories Maratta designs under the moniker “Cholé” (yes, all the apparent junk, screams, looks, and other detritus in the exhibition are proudly branded with Maratta’s various imprints). The panels are displayed with sculptural homage to Odwalla88’s noise tables–the site on top of which Chloé and Flannery generate their acerbic, feral songs during live performances.
Although Wasteland is rife with abjection, the totalizing effect of Maratta and her work is one of exuberance and celebration. She is an incredibly kind, decisive, and energizing person as evidenced by her extended network of fans, friends, and collaborators. Species is honored to introduce her to Atlanta.