Chicago

Michael Nakoneczny

Zolla/Lieberman Gallery

Michael Nakoneczny’s paintings are frantic and fractured, crowded with figures and signs inhabiting territories of vaguely cubist planes and disengaged areas of splashily applied color. Many of his acrylic-on-Masonite works feature hinged appurtenances, jutting from the sides or the top, suggesting the structure, if not the spiritual references, of medieval altarpieces.

Nakoneczny’s people are crudely drawn, simultaneously childlike and menacing. They move through compositional labyrinths furnished with assorted household objects: washboards, toy trains, claw hammers, and various geometric shapes. Here and there exotic beasts cavort: long-billed birds, bizarre fish, predatory cats. Sometimes animalistic traits appear in the physiognomies of Nakoneczny’s characters. In the lower right corner of Cat and Mouse, 1986, a child of uncertain gender wearing a cap with mouse ears pedals a tricycle,

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