M. Ivan Cherry | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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M. Ivan Cherry

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The 23 paintings in M. Ivan Cherry's new show at Gescheidle form a meditation on sleeping children that's more proof of the relevance of figurative painting. Quick and Nimble is an overhead view of a shirtless boy lost in sleep. Like all of Cherry's figures he's isolated on a canvas painted a solid color, which pushes viewers to focus on the boy's unblemished skin and relaxed body--the encapsulation of innocence. In Devotion the right hand of a sleeping girl in diapers covers her heart, the left grasps a delicate white feather--a reminder of how simple commitment can be. Other paintings display a lighthearted surrealism. The Sky Is Falling shows a boy sleeping on his back, his arms crossed overhead, surrounded by six chicken carcasses. Two unsympathetic portraits of adults create a jarring contrast. Funky Chicken With Beater n Boxers shows the artist asleep: eyes sunk deep in dark circles, ruddy face shadowed by heavy stubble, potbelly exposed. By comparing himself to the children, he reminds us how far removed we are from childhood's purity. Gescheidle, 300 W. Superior, through February 8. Hours are 11 to 6, Tuesday through Saturday; 312-654-0600.

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