chicago

Hannah Dresner

Spertus Institute

In spite of its venue—the Spertus Museum is dedicated to the study of Judaica—this exhibition featured works that share some of the qualities found in depictions of the Stations of the Cross. Like those, each of Hannah Dresner’s 20 smallish gouaches is exactly the same size. All were displayed in identical frames, installed in rows at constant intervals, and hung at the same height. The exhibition layout encouraged the viewer to see the work in a particular order, one that led thematically not through despair to salvation, but through experience to knowledge.

There is a heady air of the spiritual in Dresner’s work. All of her images speak to the question of a kind of universal womanhood. A woman’s body appears in each of Dresner’s paintings, usually as a supine torso set horizontally across the expanse of the sheet of paper, head and feet cropped off by the edge. In this format, the anonymous

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