• John Phillips

    Tony Wight Gallery

    The coupling of clear form with an at times confused figure-ground relationship is a hallmark of John Phillips’s oils. In this recent exhibition of nine new works, the artist’s newly introduced battle was between cranked-up color and striations of gray, with the latter poised to triumph at every turn. Phillips’s precise positioning of circles, ovals, and stripes suggests the use of a computer to sketch out pattern and color prior to painting. Still, the edges of forms, while clean and purposely plotted, are hardly perfect, their wavering lines exposing a comfort with the unaided hand’s limitations.

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  • Michael Piazza

    Cleve Carney Art Gallery

    Michael Piazza’s death in 2006 robbed Chicago of one of its most persistent cultural and social activists, an artist and teacher who believed that creativity could be a corrective and redemptive force with the potential to ameliorate the conditions of the disenfranchised and the dispossessed, naming and shaming and unmasking those who hold the reins of power (art-world power included). In Piazza’s life the personal and the political were ever fused, and his ongoing work with, for example, the inmates of the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center of Cook County was rooted in his disgust that such

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