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New Humanism

GET WELL SOON at the Robbin Lockett Gallery Previous shows at the Robbin Lockett Gallery may have been too idea-oriented and esoteric for many Chicagoans, but the current group exhibit, “Get Well Soon,” should communicate provocative ideas to a wide audience. Its accessibility comes from the show’s references to the human body, of which we […]

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Straight to the Heart

DAVID RUSSICK at Deson-Saunders Gallery At their best, David Russick’s visually uncomplicated paintings go straight to the heart. The initial impact of these ten acrylics on canvas, now on view at Deson-Saunders Gallery, is overwhelmingly positive–Russick often uses quiet color-field backgrounds and simple, schematic imagery to maximum advantage. The directness of this pared-down style, coupled […]

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Who’s Getting Tired?

BARBARA KRUGER at the Rhona Hoffman Gallery Being a world-renowned artist can have its dangers. You might get so used to that glorious view from the top of the heap that you stop taking chances. Barbara Kruger’s latest show looks like a replay of the kind of work that first won her major notoriety in […]

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Offal Truth

HELEN CHADWICK at Ehlers Caudill Gallery This gruesomely appealing show demonstrates the paradox of human existence through an aesthetic treatment of butcher-shop entrails. British artist Helen Chadwick, in her large color photographs and photo sculptures, uses offal to symbolize our own insides, reminding us of how dependent our intangible spirit is on such tangible things […]

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Man at Play

JOSEPH LITZENBERGER at the Ricky Renier Gallery My dictionary has no less than 19 definitions for the word “play.” The definition most appropriate to the wonderfully varied and engaging sculpture of Joseph Litzenberger, however, describes play as the natural activity of children. Play is important to creativity, because the most creative art making involves free-spirited […]

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Femme Ferocious

PAT MURPHY: PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS at Artemisia Gallery The painting style of Chicago artist Pat Murphy is so ferocious you can practically hear it roaring and snarling as you enter the room. The bold brush strokes and bright colors of these oils on stretched linen and watercolors on paper are only a prelude, however. For […]

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Mystery Games

DAVE RICHARDS: NEW WORK at the Compass Rose Gallery Imagine the perplexity you would feel if you found yourself in a room filled with unfamiliar, elaborately designed game boards. Without movable tokens or instructions on the rules of play, the games would seem mysterious, symbolic puzzles in which shapes and colors have a hidden meaning. […]

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Borders of Blandness

JESSE HICKMAN: THE COUNTY SERIES at Klein Art Works If you open up a U.S. road atlas and trace the lines delineating the counties of any state, you’ll have an excellent idea of the shapes Jesse Hickman employs in his series of paintings on wood panels, straightforwardly titled “The County Series.” In fact, this entire […]

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Survival of the Fit

ASHLEY BICKERTON at the Donald Young Gallery New York artist Ashley Bickerton’s latest sculpture is just the sort of work you would expect the Big Apple to export to its less glitzy neighbor. Many of these large floor and wall pieces, with their black leather, silver fasteners, and glass cases suspended by pulleys, look like […]