Posted inArts & Culture

Scraps of Tenderness

Gwen Gerard at Idao Gallery, through June 1 By Bonita McLaughlin When I think of Chicago I think of cabs honking, buses belching black soot, the smell of grilled onions and Polish sausage, StreetWise vendors, light breaking through clouds over Lake Michigan, the screeching of the el, glass-wrapped skyscrapers reflecting sunsets and neighboring skyscrapers. And […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Kill the Clown

“No party hats inside,” a police officer’s radio crackles. State troopers in brown uniforms are frisking and questioning four Guardian Angels standing near a wooden snow fence with their hands behind their heads. One of them’s wearing a pink cardboard cone decorated with little clowns holding presents and a birthday cake. “Na na na na, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Buried Light

TERRI ZUPANC at the Chicago Cultural Center, through January 9 Picture a muddy midwestern field on a gloomy day in late February. Eliminate any barns, corncribs, or power lines you might imagine; in fact, delete any sign of human presence other than a narrow, muddy path. Then eliminate living creatures altogether–strike rabbits from the field, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Private Views

SIDE BY SIDE–LOST LIVES: PAINTINGS BY ED FRAGA at the Chicago Cultural Center, through December 30 Like most art of the 20th century, surrealism has its Achilles’ heel. Its typical strategies–plumbing dreams and the unconscious for themes and imagery, juxtaposing familiar images in unexpected, even irrational ways–can be devastatingly subversive, challenging our habits of mind […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Images of Uncertainty

SUSAN ROTHENBERG: PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS at the Museum of Contemporary Art, through October 24 For a horrible second or two after you trip on a broken sidewalk you’re completely in flux–with arms flailing and bags flying, you don’t know whether you’re going to catch yourself or fall. But that’s a minor anxiety compared to life’s […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Light as a Feather

EILEEN WALTER-GREENE: A WING AND A PRAYER at Artemisia, through July 31 After seeing Eileen Walter-Greene’s show at Artemisia I went to the library to learn more about the Cooper’s hawk; Walter-Greene had been given a wing by friends, and has made it the subject of her recent paintings and drawings. In a book on […]

Posted inArts & Culture

An Unflinching Woman

ELIZABETH LAYTON: DRAWING ON LIFE at the Betty Rymer Gallery, through July 21 “She’s stuck up, has temper tantrums, is self-righteous, lazy and sheds crocodile tears. She’s timid, quarrelsome and full of hate. . . . She just laid there and let the birds build nests in her hair.” So goes Elizabeth Layton’s assessment, in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Tantalizing Contradictions

LI LIN LEE: INTIMATE ABSTRACTIONS at the Evanston Art Center, through May 19 Li Lin Lee’s paintings on burlap are intriguing fence sitters. Vacillating between representation and abstraction, between the familiar and the unfamiliar, they reject fixity in favor of open-endedness. And like most significant experiences in life, they’re somewhat confounding–the best of them stubbornly […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Victims’ Voices

OUT OF SILENCE at Beacon Street Gallery, through April 11 “Then there was the pain,” wrote Maya Angelou in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, describing her rape by her mother’s boyfriend. “A breaking and entering when even the senses are torn apart. The act of rape on an eight-year-old body is a matter […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sense of Site

JO HORMUTH: OIL SPILLS at the Evanston Art Center On a recent afternoon the view from the windows in the Evanston Art Center’s first-floor galleries was stunning: undisturbed, perfectly white snow-covered grounds, punctuated here and there by dark bare trees, blended softly into the distant expanse of Lake Michigan, which in turn knit itself into […]