Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon

Painting the Macroscopic and the Microscopic

Posted in Art,Putting One Foot in Front of the Other by bourdaghs on the March 28th, 2010

Yesterday we had a few minutes to kill downtown before my daughter’s orthodontist appointment. As we often do when faced with that situation, we stopped by my favorite public space in America: the Chicago Cultural Center. There, we took in two current exhibits, both quite fascinating–and, unfortunately, both slated to close later this week.

R&R (…&R)” is an exhibit of works by Susanne Slavick. She takes photographs of contemporary wartime destruction in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon and paints over them images from classical Islamic artwork, creating strikingly beautiful symbols of healing. One large panel, for instance, consisted of black-and-white photographs of bombed out cars, with colorful painted images of angels in the heavens pulling on ropes attached to the twisted hulks below. Slavick’s works give a sense of “restoration ” (one of the “R” words she has in mind in the exhibit title), and they also prod us toward a new awareness of our place in a global, millennial flow of history: I couldn’t help wondering how the images of our own violent times will look to human (or angelic) observers 500 years hence. The exhibit runs through April 4. You can see more of Slavick’s work here.

In a neighboring gallery we found “Up is Down: Paintings by Joel Sheesley.” In sharp contrast to Slavick’s macroscopic take on human history, Sheesley uses a microscope: his paintings depict small puddles in his back yard, with each water surface transforming into a mirror that reflects upward: ladders, clouds, people. The detailed images are often achingly beautiful, as Sheesley opens up an almost infinite sense of joy and wonder in the most mundane of (literally) backyard phenomena. The exhibit runs through April 3. Sheesley’s website is here.

The orthodontist appointment likewise turned out pretty well. I hope your Saturday morning brought you something splendid, as well–whether on a macroscopic or a microscopic scale.

Comments Off on Painting the Macroscopic and the Microscopic

Comments are closed.