chicago

Barbara Rossi

The Renaissance Society

Of all the Chicago Imagists, Barbara Rossi has most consistently achieved an equipoise between a mania for technique and a commitment to iconography with profound spiritual implications. Since the late ’60s her work has constituted a deeply personal and rather hermetic quest for images achieving the state of grace that has traditionally been the highest and most noble aim of picture making. This midcareer retrospective of over 60 paintings, drawings, and mixed-media works was a call to conscience, reflecting everywhere Rossi’s effort to create a parallel universe mirroring the most fundamental aspirations of humankind.

It is line that drives Rossi’s art, and there are moments, particularly within her earlier pieces, that seem the work of a medieval Celtic illuminator loose on the streets of Chicago. Rossi’s line wends its way across her drawings and paintings in febrile and numbing accretion,

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