Jacob Hashimoto | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Jacob Hashimoto's "Skip Skitter Start Trip Vault Bounce--and Other Attempts at Flight" at Rhona Hoffman is a revelation, a tightrope walk between the ineffable and the physical. With one exception the works are installed like paintings, but each is composed of six layers, each made up of many small kitelike structures of translucent rice paper stretched across stick frames. Printed, painted, or bare, these hand-tied hexagons and ovals challenge the relationship between figure and ground, dissolving into and emerging from their companions and in the process redefining two and three dimensions. The work is in dialogue not only with traditions of Japanese kite making but also--incredibly--with the conflict between surface and the traditional three-dimensional illusions of painting that have energized modernist artists since the impressionists. The exhibit's centerpiece is the installation Super Abundant Atmosphere II, which, when viewed from the corner of the gallery, aims for the sublime. But the works against the walls are what speak eloquently in many voices: those of the craftsman, the modernist, the child with his paper and string, the laborer who finds the infinite in repetitive tasks. Both delicate and grand, Hashimoto's work is some of the best we've seen in Chicago this year. Through 12/23: Tue-Fri 10-5:30, Sat 11-5:30, Rhona Hoffman, 118 N. Peoria, 312-455-1990. Free.

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