Chicago: Some Notes Upon My Return...

dread_by_mosley.jpgSome of you who know me would have heard about the Intelligent Design Project that Michael Zansky and I have been presenting in a number of spaces throughout the U.S. . The third show in the series opened at Kasia Kay Art Projects on the 12th of October, and I look forward to hearing from anyone who sees the show in Chicago.

From this point on, I would like to tell you about what I saw in other Chicago galleries, all well worth a visit. First, in the west loop, I happened by four exhibitions that were real winners. The video Dread (2007) (image above left), based on the writings of Pascal (Pensées) and Rousseau (Emile) by Joshua Mosley at Donald Young Gallery is incredibly powerful and intensely unforgettable. The shimmering backgrounds of light and leaves, and the mostly expressionless characters in silvery black and white (shown above), conveyed a narrative that is as riveting as it is profound. It touched upon a variety of concepts such as life’s purpose, the nature of things, and love and loss with slick technologies and dazzling beauty. See it if you can, especially if you are a video artist looking for something to strive for.

kacy_maddux_untitled.jpgOver at Gescheidle gallery are the marker drawings of Kacy Maddux. They are sort of like Tarot cards (image right) that could have been designed by a Hans Bellmer or Pavel Tchelitchew type, but the harmony in Maddux’s designs is far more centralized and radiant. Collectors should follow this young artist’s career very closely.

hemmert_I_am_the_way.jpgThe Hans Hemmert sculptures (image left) over at Kavi Gupta Gallery are real knockouts too. I love the irony of the forms as Icons, especially when mixed with the glazed slickness of the monochromatic surfaces. The buoyantly pop offerings on paper found on the gallery’s wall are also very cool. One suggestion to the artist: next time, skip the lamp-like works in the second gallery, and the videos generally. They weaken the potency of the better works.

chris_uphues.jpgChris Uphues’s amazing paintings on black backgrounds (image right) over at Bucket Rider gallery are top shelf. The line quality is flawless and the sense of color magnetic. This stuff is lowbrow at its best.

Zana_Briski_Brothel.jpgOver in the River North section are three more stellar shows. Chicago’s number one photography gallery, Stephen Daiter Gallery, features the highly tactile black-and-white prints (image left) of Zana Briski. You may know this name from her Academy Award-winning film Born into Brothels. Here, we see the stark world of the lost and the damned that will hit you right in the gut – beautiful prints with rich tones and dark tales to tell.

david_becker.jpgIf you are as big a fan of Otto Dix or Pieter Bruegel as I am, then you must look into the work of David Becker (image right) over at Ann Nathan Gallery. His art, which ranges from wonderfully rendered pencil drawings and potent prints to meticulously painted canvases, is beyond description. And he holds nothing back, leaving the viewer with the feeling that hope is merely a four-letter word, and to live one’s life is to surrender the soul.

wirsum2.jpgI am also a big fan of The Hairy Who, so I was delighted to make my way over to the Karl Wirsum (image left) exhibit at Jean Albano Gallery. Here, I was treated to a number of recently completed works that are simply electric, as well as some delightfully dated earlier works that all shine a very bright light on a great Chicago-based artist. – D. Dominick Lombardi

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D. Dominick Lombardi is an artist with representation in Kasia Kay Art Projects and in Chicago, Van Brunt Gallery in Beacon, NY, and ADA gallery in Richmond, VA; a writer with Sculpture, Sculpture Review, DART, and NYARTS; and an independent curator.

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