Critics’ Picks

Greg Stimac, Red Diamond, 2008, archival pigment print, 27 1/2 x 60".

Chicago

“Bad Moon”

ANDREW RAFACZ
835 W. Washington Blvd. 2nd Floor
December 12 - January 24

Shunning novelty and artistic ego, Steven Husby’s two small, hard-edged abstract paintings are unrivaled in this group show. These immaculate grayscales, both Untitled, 2008, are so perfectly proportioned and precise in their value shifts that they could be prototypes for gradient scales in the printing industry; they leave no trace of Husby’s hand or subjective imagination, and they conjure Giacomo Balla and Bridget Riley equally. Esteban Schimpf’s God, Imagine the Storm on Jupiter, 2006, is juvenile by comparison. Here, orange paint is sprayed onto a blue bedsheet spelling out the piece’s title. Its large blazon text belies the dopey rumination it evokes. Jason Lazarus’s single contribution to this all-male lineup is a photograph of a tiger-printed blanket covering a figure reclining in a landscape. Photographed from a high vantage point, the colorful, kitschy shroud is in stark contrast to the field of dormant grass in which the body rests. With the exception of Husby’s paintings, internal juxtapositions within the works presented in this exhibition unify the disparate contributions. In Greg Stimac’s Red Diamond, 2008, a print featuring a red graphic rhombus imposed over vernacular photographs of houses, and Curtis Mann’s painterly bleached photographs eliciting apocalyptic narratives, incongruity abounds and thematizes unlikely bedfellows.