Eleanor Coppola | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Eleanor Coppola


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Gwenda Jay/Addington's "Good Vibrations" show of California artists includes three engaging 2003 works by Eleanor Coppola, wife of movie director Francis Ford Coppola, who's been showing her art for three decades. For each she gathered olive branches, removed some leaves, twisted the branches, and attached them to large sheets of white paper. "I edit the branches and leaves to create something similar to a drawing," she says, and their twists and bends do have a fine drawing's rhythmic elegance. Still, replacing marks on paper with natural objects can be seen as a retreat from the usual grandiose, world-creating role of the artist. The overall effect--something between a trompe l'oeil painting, an actual object, and a Chinese bamboo drawing--is heightened by the gray shadows she paints in watercolor on the paper. Their placement doesn't always suggest a single light source, and because she lights the works from above, there's an interplay between actual branches, actual shadows, and painted shadows. Coppola says that when she began this series in 2003 the choice of olive branches wasn't a conscious reference to peace, but she's "by nature a dove" and was "very disturbed" by the prospect of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Gwenda Jay/ Addington, 704 N. Wells through August 21. Hours are 11 to 6 Tuesday through Saturday; 312-664-3406.

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

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