John Fraser | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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An art exhibit that avoids making an obvious statement is typically either very bad--some artists don't know how to use their materials to say anything--or, as in the case of John Fraser's 23 sculptures and collages at Roy Boyd, almost unaccountably good. Our natural instinct is to impose our own worldview on everything we see, but Fraser's work, arising from what he calls his "meditative practice," is about holding back and letting his materials speak for themselves. Division I is a wall relief with sides that resemble woven wood and a middle that seems blank--until you focus on the center and see the tiny variations in the luminous wood, acrylic, and wax surface. Cubed Positive is a cube with a similar woven pattern making a cross on each face, the repetition producing a kind of emptying-out effect that should calm the busiest of minds. The paper collage titled Non-Event: Mid-Day consists of several rectangles of aged blank paper--it's surprisingly lyrical, the fuzzy stains near the seams softening the geometry and bringing out the sensuality of the paper. Roy Boyd, 739 N. Wells, through August 23. Hours are 10 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday; 312-642-1606.

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