Shadows are as important as the objects casting them in Herbert George's four elegantly handcrafted marble sculptures at Oskar Friedl, each the product of months of labor. Shadow Still Life of Mondrian's Pipe and Glasses shows a pipe in a bowl, a rough marble surface representing their shadow. In Shadow Double Portrait of Mondrian two faces based on photos of Mondrian young and old lie on each side of an elongated shadow; they're more cubist than realist, the eye on the old face divided from the nose by a large slit. Shadow Portrait of a Palestinian Girl conveys the agony in the newspaper photo that inspired it; the work is mounted near the floor, and the viewer first looks down into her screaming mouth, then discovers her long, curving fingers and the rough surfaces indicating shadow. Here shadow and object merge into a unified form whose expressive twisting reminded me of Michelangelo's sculptures of slaves. What's most powerful about these works is the paradoxical way shadows of solid white marble make the objects throwing them seem chimerical, an impression deepened by the fragmentary rendition of both. The inevitable failure of human enterprise seems to be one of George's themes, the marble signaling a desperate attempt to memorialize the immaterial. Oskar Friedl, 300 W. Superior, through March 27. Hours are 11 to 6 Tuesday through Saturday; 312-867-1930.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Fred Camper.