1034 N. Milwaukee , Chicago, IL 60622
Not unlike Joseph E. Yoakum (also reviewed, exhibiting at Intuit), who made drawings of landscapes he had visited throughout his life, Michelle Bolinger’s circular, sketchily outlined shapes ring, line and stack her compositions. Based off landscapes and topography that the artist recreates in her studio using gumdrops and jellybeans, her whimsical cartography is then painted from these models in abstract, almost anthropomorphic ways. The brightly colored opacity of her rounded forms varies from medium saturated, drippy transparency to thick, fatty oil paint plasters. The whiteness of her backgrounds give the sense of her subjects existing in a placeless space, and this same white reoccurs in the titanium white saturation of many of her warm, frequently pastel palette.
Clare Grill’s brushy combinations of oil and acrylic on canvas and/ or panel bubble, streak and drip across her works’ surfaces. The subjects of her paintings, ranging from figures, objects and landscapes, are loosely rendered and often depicted surrealistically, in moments of surprise or hilarity, with an underlining creeping in of the uncanny.
Aliza Morell’s work focuses heavily on capturing the experience of viewing light and all of its attendant visual phenomena. The geometric protrusions that shoot across her work like search lights or film titles in elongated parallelograms are opaque and hard edged. Her palette also leans towards the pastel, with less of a white base then a slightly muddied tan or brown hue added to most colors, giving them a more wistful or forlorn overall feeling then Bolinger’s super saccharine, confectioners colors.
Kimberly Trowbridge’s oil on canvas paintings work well in concert with the palette of the other artists on display, continuing the washy, brushy light pastels, with reoccurring turquoise and fuchsia, palettes. But the chiefly figurative content of her work, and the complex, however puzzling narratives these figures enact in each piece, are a departure. Although these predominately female figures are dismembered, with snatches of eyes, patches of arms, and a repeated 19th century shadow portrait profile silhouette cropping up, her hatched, vertical background strokes stitch the otherwise ephemeral tableaux vivant into place.
Rounding out this all female group show is Stacie Johnson, who has exhibited frequently throughout town at spaces like ThreeWalls and Mini Dutch, returns with her triumphant pop paintings of installations she creates and then paints. Realistically rendered, her new age-y visual vocabulary, replete with charms, psychic auras and anthropologically significant symbols and signs are seamlessly combined with the everyday items they are often constructed out of, or at least installed with, including patterned sheets, house plants and mirrors.
--Thea Liberty Nichols