Ned Broderick | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Ned Broderick

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Decades after Ned Broderick fought in Vietnam the war still influences his work, as evidenced in his paintings, sculptures, photographs, and collages at 4Art. Many are fragmented or twisted oddly in space, and most reverse expectations in one way or another--suggesting an unstable world where aggression can surface at any moment. The plaster torso in This Is Me has most of a face, scored and scarred, perched at an angle on a thin neck. One arm is missing; the other, a metal prosthesis, holds a snapshot of a Vietnamese girl. The girl invokes memories of the war, but outwardly she's whole compared to the figure, making the point that war damages everyone. In Now We Write the Poem a typewriter has copper tacks pointing up from the keys, and a small oil painting of a troubled face emerges from the carriage. Broderick says the tacks allude to the pain of artistic creation, but they also suggest a world in which an ordinary machine can injure its user. The subject of the photo Come In is commonplace: an open doorway seen from the outside. Yet the door is at an oblique angle behind a railing, and dramatic tree shadows fall on the adjacent wall--giving the image an off-center strangeness, a weird sense of foreboding that makes it even spookier than works with more dramatic subjects. 4Art, 1932 S. Halsted, through March 5. Hours are 10 to 6 Tuesday through Saturday; 312-850-1816.

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