Clive Barker’s sketches and paintings are similar to something a surly teenage boy would doodle on his TrapperKeeper in between equally well thought-out drawings of Metallica album covers. Barker’s work uses a palette primarily consisting of reds and yellows, laid out boldly over depictions of monsters, trippy landscapes and other things that would look equally bitchin’ under a black light. Best known for writing the horror novel “Hellraiser,” then later overseeing its franchise of feature adaptations, Barker took up painting in the early 1990s. The exhibit shows the artist’s love for shining beautiful light onto hideous things. His standout painting, an oil piece titled “Two Forests,” is the best example of the message Barker is trying to convey with his work. A washed out grouping of trees reaches up to a mustard yellow sky, while beneath the surface a blackness of brambles looms. His smaller sketches point toward the lighter side of darkness as well, such as an untitled piece showing a woman, legs spread wide, with a massive vagina that looks like a fireplace of some sort. This piece is marked as sold. Given his background in novels and films, Barker brings with him a built-in audience with an ingrained appreciation for whatever he does. Without this in his favor, the work shown in his exhibit would not be nearly as impressive. But again, black lights always help. (Kelly McClure)
Through Feb 16 at Packer Schopf Gallery, 942 W. Lake Street, (312)-226-8984.