“Strange Habit” gets its name from a conversation that curator Luke Batten had with a physicist friend about the nature of experimentation. Seeking to chart the territory of “unexpected outcomes” between points A and B, the show catalogues work by five artists: Shane Huffman, Steven Husby, Emily Kennerk, Curtis Mann and Alice Shaw. Husby’s controlled geometric paintings exhibit his usual care and adequate image-making. Two large works of interlocking triangles filled with ascending and descending tones of blue show their object-ness with brushstrokes and large wooden panels, yet the shades of royal blue also allude to the fiction of atmospheric perspective in landscape painting. Around the corner hang Kennerk’s series “Portrait” in which studio portraiture sets are recorded empty. The props and backdrops are enticingly campy like leftover sets from 1970s cheesecake photos where one well-worn white fur bedspread sits below sunlit slivers from a window shade. The photos ooze a stale sexiness that breeds an awareness of slipping time. Huffman’s experiment covered too much territory to be legible, and Mann’s photos suffered from the opposite problem, an overuse of the same technique. Shaw’s gelatin prints, from the series “Opposite,” shows the artist alternating clothes and homes with a black drag queen. The portraits end up being incredibly tender, making the two seem more like twins rather than opposites. (Dan Gunn)
Through May 31 at I space, 230 W. Superior, (312)587-997.