Geoffrey Bates, the curator of this show of five Illinoisans, says their works “shun the glib irony that typifies much recent contemporary art.” Most of these intriguing sculptures and installations–from Yvette Kaiser Smith’s over-the-top resin sculptures to Michael Ferris Jr.’s geometrically patterned busts–serve as a reminder that a lack of irony doesn’t have to mean a lack of humor. Lucy Slivinski’s sculptures made of discarded materials are standouts, with a powerful presence but no signature style. Head, a large ball of brush fiber, is at once imposing and a bit goofy. The small and elegant Stack places a clump of grass atop two bricks, making a third “brick” that suggests the split between nature and industry. Yet her large Seed With Hangers doesn’t hint at any such rupture: wire clothes hangers are arranged into a giant organic bloom that appears to sprout from a large, dark “seed.” Bill Smith’s gentle but affecting F System also connects nature with machines: when a visitor approaches the installation a fan starts whirring, causing a tiny maple seed suspended from a wire to turn as if in the wind. Illinois State Museum Chicago Gallery, James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph, second floor, through March 14. Hours are 9 to 5 Monday through Friday; 312-814-5317.