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« Art Institute Addition Opening Announced This Show Will Glow »

Feature Mon Jul 21 2008

River North Round-up

River North's many art galleries served up a ton of quality work during the Friday evening opening receptions. Here are the highlights from the shows:

Jean Albano: New Yorker Donna Rosenthal's brilliant tutus and suits are made of found materials -- including vintage papers, books, and magazines and linen -- or intricately crocheted. Each sculpture is emblazoned with a provocative yet humorous saying on the front; for examples, "A Little Girl's Wish List" calls for "A big diamond ring," while others say "Angel in Disguise," "Too Darn Hot," and "Witchy Woman." In addition to their extraordinary craftsmanship, Rosenthal's pieces draw attention to old feminine stereotypes in a fresh and innovative way. Further back in the gallery are the works of Luciana Abaita, a Miami resident of Argentinean origins whose displayed works focus on underwater recreation. Her Mixed Nature Series humorously juxtaposes swimmers and divers floating amidst purple flowers and lush tropical plants -- a clever treatment of the theme of human presence in nature. Through Aug. 23.

Ann Nathan Gallery: The juxtaposition of Christopher A. Klein's highly detailed, futuristic oil paintings -- aptly titled "Unnatural Images" -- and John Tuccillo's cast paper sculptures is a curious one indeed. Klein's paintings depict somewhat apocalyptic scenes: Enraged-looking, giant bats flying amidst biplanes and billowing clouds; a frightened man holding a bat as snakes emerge from his head; and hawk-men, clad in armor, perched upon horses while fire rages in the background. A veteran of National Geographic (his employer for 26 years), Klein says he's returned to his "surrealist roots," which is definitely evident in these works. Meanwhile, Tuccillo's work pays homage to steel grates, manhole covers and other subjects frequently dealt with by your local public works department. To make his realistic pieces, Tuccillo takes a urethane mold impression, casts it in paper pulp, dries it, mounts it and paints it to look like the original.

Andrew Bae: Korean artist Keysook Geum's "World Wired Web" -- a collection of tutus, gowns, dresses and jackets -- is a don't-miss. Geum combines wire, crystal beads, ribbons and phosphorescent paint to produce her dainty, elegant pieces, which will surely make many women visitors covetous. The show includes pieces featured in "Sculpt a Pose" (2004), an earlier Geum show held at Bae, as well as newer works such as "Moving in Red" (a red tutu with ballet slippers attached by string, to indicate movement). Through Aug. 16.

Habatat Galleries: JP Long describes his work as "based upon natural tensions between opposing harmonies"; this concept is readily apparent in "Point Line Plane," Habatat's new exhibit of Long's sculptures. By combining steel and extruded glass, Long plays with the relationship between sturdy and fragile; globby glass drips between pieces of metal, or protrudes ray-like in straight lines between curves. Another Habatat highlight is the work of Matt Eskuche, whose sculptures of draw attention to our culture's production of mass quantities of trash. Eskuche creates replicas of styrofoam cups, plastic water bottles, the squeezy tops of dishwashing liquid bottles and other common refuse out of flameworked glass, oil paint, and found objects. Each sculpture consists of dozens of these glass replicas, arranged on antique-looking endtables. Because the pieces must be rearranged each time they are shown, there is an element of chance -- not unlike the arrangement of litter in the streets. Through Aug. 30.

I Space Gallery: The Pulse of a Perfect Heart exhibit features works from graduates of UIUC's graduate MFA program, and therefore runs the gamut of media -- from oil and canvas and photography to installations made from electronic components. While you're strolling through, don't miss Adam Fotos' blue Untitled (The Corner), an arrangement of shapes made of MDF, latex paint, laser-cut acrylic and LEDs; it will have you daydreaming of adventures in outer space. Through Aug. 16.

David Weinberg Gallery: The hits here are Cassandra Lozano's playful sculptures of 60s-inspired plastic flowers enclosed in giant glass bubbles, and Doug Bosch's piles and stacks of natural media -- including pure cadmium (which is toxic, so don't touch!)

ZG: If you're feeling blue, visit Zg to check out Beth Reitmeyer's Hope Springs Eternal: New Paintings & Installation -- an assembly of works made from a variety of media (acrylic, fabric, and glitter) but united in their bright colors and focus on flowery shapes. Particularly impressive is Reitmeyer's installation of flower "wallpaper" made of fabric scraps sewn together to form a fuzzy mosaic. The work is shiny, cheerful and light -- a welcome combination in these economically depressing times. Through Aug. 30.

About the Author:

A native of Johnstown, PA, Lauri Apple is a contender for the title, "world's most renowned bag lady," thanks to her somewhat popular (at times) website, FoundClothing. Lauri has a JD and doesn't know why, but it will take about 30 years for her to pay it off, and that worries her. Her favorite cities are Prague, Pittsburgh, Austin and Chicago. When she's not looking through people's trash, she's either painting, taking pictures, or making/thinking about making cartoons about her weird life.

 
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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
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