Chicago

Ashley Macomber

Kavi Gupta Gallery | Elizabeth St

Ashley Macomber uses paint to suggest the contours of skin and fur with a precision of line more commonly associated with engraving. Her portraits of human-animal hybrids have a stiffness reminiscent of early New England portraiture, and her muted palette is accentuated by the choice of gouache and acrylic in preference to oil. Macomber proves herself technically proficient—she’s particularly adept at balancing warm and cool colors—but falls down when it comes to her work’s conceptual underpinnings. Though her application is seductive in its exactitude, the work’s raison d’être is on shakier ground, characterized as it is by underdeveloped ideas and trite faux-literary allusions.

Macomber’s recent exhibition at Kavi Gupta Gallery, “The Clearing,” paired five works on paper with a suite of six paintings propped up on white pedestals and arranged as if they were figures on a stage: The

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