Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Julie Comnick

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Order seems to be disintegrating in the face of threatening apocalypse in Julie Comnick's seven paintings and six large charcoal drawings at Zg Gallery. She writes in her statement, "Alert to the variety of signs and symbols in their surroundings, animals are inherently prepared for impending change," yet in Habitat I the rodent that tries to find shelter in a messily coiled orange electrical cord hardly seems prepared for anything. Belching smokestacks loom in the distance behind the rodent, but no details connect foreground to background, as if objects have lost their connection to one another. A Chicagoan who earned an MFA from Montana State in 2001, Comnick displays adequate craft, but the real power of these works lies in the suggestive arrangement of objects. Method for Luring shows a girl playing a flute and at her feet a terrarium with its top off. The animal that once lived inside has vanished, perhaps lured into escaping, and a blurred leaping dog might be about to pounce on the out-of-frame creature. Particularly compelling is the off-center arrangement of sheets of music scattered at the foot of a stool that supports a metronome--the mix of sloppiness and precision provokes the question: if the flutist is improvising, why is the metronome ticking? Zg Gallery, 300 W. Superior, through August 11. Hours are 10 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday, and 12 to 4 Sunday, August 11; 312-654-9900.

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