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Lisa Krivacka's show at Aron Packer, "Open House," includes 27 small paintings inspired by the real estate ads she ran across while looking for a home in upstate New York. Printed on the paintings are owners' typical optimistic descriptions, which also often serve as the titles, but the sensuous colors and personality she gives these scenes make them more than reproductions. In Designer Decorated Townhouse, depicting a bathroom with red towels and a jagged wallpaper design in red and pink, the nearly pastel colors are much gentler than those found in glossy circulars. Multi-Colored Roofs shows a street where the peaked roofs are tiled in appealing red, blue, and yellow; while the shadows suggest that the sun is still up, the sky is a sensuous lavender that places these depictions in the realm of fantasy.

Lisa Krivacka

Where: Aron Packer, 118 N. Peoria

When: Through January 8

Info: 312-226-8984

Mary Henderson's 15 small paintings at Zg are also based on photos. Henderson says her subject is the mix of ritual and spontaneity found in "structured recreation" at carnivals, theme parks, and arcades. In Balloon Game a tattooed man in a sleeveless shirt stands next to a young boy in a McDonald's T-shirt who's trying to shoot a balloon; a carny faces them. The three figures are of very different sizes and all in the left half of the composition, throwing it off balance; Henderson's deep, bright colors add intensity. These qualities also suggest striving and desire in Sega Pilots. Here two boys look at a simulated cityscape on an airplane cockpit screen, a scene we see over one boy's left shoulder. The bright cockpit "window" drew my attention, causing my eyes to swerve to the left. Again compositional imbalance suggests the edginess and near-delirium of such fantasy games.

Mary Henderson

Where: Zg, 300W. Superior

When: Through December 31

Info: 312-654-9900

Steve Zieverink's 11 seemingly low-key abstract works at Byron Roche are full of small surprises. The irregularities in Untitled #2, which shows a grid of white lines against a greenish yellow field, are what engaged me. The paint is applied so thickly that layers jut out in jagged edges beyond the canvas, and many lines in the grid are interrupted by abrasions or messy applications of the background color. The composition of Untitled #1 is more dynamic, a grid of light blue circles on a darker background, the circles growing larger toward the center to create a bunching or clustering effect like a traffic jam.

Steve Zieverink

Where: Byron Roche, 750 N. Franklin

When: Through December 31

Info: 312-654-0144

Jerome Powers also builds some surprises into his 17 untitled abstract works at Roy Boyd. To make them he applies layers of Elmer's Glue, adding paint or graphite to each one after it's dry and then applying another layer of glue. The effect is that any lines or shapes appear to be floating in space. The vertical bands of graphite in one dynamic work also bend slightly in various ways, contradicting the notion of geometric "purity" in abstract painting: Powers ensnares us with "imperfections" rendered mysterious, even a bit magical, by his layering. In another painting, the wavy lines against a dark field are actually single long strands from a horse's tail, introducing a whiff of the horse to Roy Boyd's clean modernist space.

Jerome Powers

Where: Roy Boyd, 739 N. Wells

When: Through January 4

Info: 312-642-1606

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Fred Camper.

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