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Art Wed Dec 17 2014

focus: Lucy McKenzie Exhibition @ The Art Institute of Chicago

Upon walking into the Art Institute's Modern Wing, the beloved exhibition of Josef Koudelka is now removed and a new exhibition sits in its place -- quite literally. Before entering the space, Lucy McKenzie is projecting towards her audience. One mechanically operated sign moves up and down, another swirls in a circle, and a seated mannequin sits pretty between them both. Like out of a small town storefront window, the exhibition begins.

Lucy McKenzie.jpg

Once inside, the noise of the moving signs takes hold of the viewer as one wanders the space through a series of large canvas paintings which propel from the ceiling. "Manhattan (Phallic map mural for brasserie scene in unrealized Kubrick film)," is a piece, among several others in a series which re-images a Kubrick movie scene. The meticulous realism that McKenzie presents in this collection is contrasted with slight oddities and occasional humor in her exhibition at the AIC. Her realistic pieces are oddly composed, the majority are cropped on the sides to feature an off-centered piece. However, the script beneath the paintings, for example, "Sweden & Finland" or "Geneva," are delicately placed and perform for the viewer as a delicate, yet important, attribute to the entirety of the piece.

Sitting next to these paintings are an installation that is reminiscent of an "artists studio." The "in-process" and the "final product" are displayed in conjunction as if they are simply not able to part ways. The finished pieces, which reflect Kubrick scenes, in contrast with the hidden pieces, create a tension and hierarchy between the two groupings of positioned paintings.

Additionally, McKenzie has created a video installation in the gallery space. The film is silent, in color, and features McKenzie herself. In her teenage years she was a star in a Richard Kern film, and again, she collaborates with the photographer and director in The Girl Who Followed Marple (2014). Featuring quirky dialogue, dramatic tensions, and a menstrual cup, McKenzie and Kern are successful in their dramatization and appropriation of a daytime TV mystery series.

Lucy McKenzie is a Scottish artist who currently resides in Belgium. This is her largest exhibition in the United States to date. focus: Lucy McKenzie will be on view until Jan. 18.

 
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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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