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Review: Bilingual: Art at the Intersection of Painting and Video

Painting, South Loop, Video Add comments

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Artists, like linguists, translate the language of their thoughts and observations into the world of common perception. This exhibition considers “the role of painting in today’s media suffused culture.” A great variety of contemporary artists are represented in this show from both Columbia College and elsewhere. From Jay Helkes’ black-and-white animations drawn atop a veritable flipbook of rock ‘n’ roll, made popular by MTV, to the award-winning videos of Canadian artist Shira Avni, much of the work present in this show successfully comments on and exists within our increasingly complex culture. William Kentridge shows “Felix in Exile,” animated through drawn and redrawn charcoal on paper, the rich visible traces confronting the complex matters of coping with exile, displacement, and longing. Wafaa Bilal’s “Absinthe Drinker” uses new media to disrupt the viewer from a traditional gaze, giving life to the formerly passive subject of Monet’s original. At times some of the work finds itself struggling to imitate painting, resulting in having more to do with the rhythmic lightshow of the iTunes visualizer than the dynamic potential to be found in video as a medium unto itself. Nevertheless, be it painting or video or sculpture or whatever hybrid thing, the work here is sure to deliver new and unexpected experiences for the viewer. (Lisa Larson-Walker)
Through January 11 at Glass Curtain Gallery, 1104 South Wabash

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