At 84, Morris Barazani qualifies as the grand old man of Chicago abstract painting. His personal history here goes all the way back to Maholy Nagy and the Institute of Design. That remote outpost of Bauhaus civilization is long gone, but its sense of carefully measured design lives on as a kind of constructivist blueprint beneath the turbulent, Ab-Ex surfaces of Barazani’s gutsy painting. The current exhibit at Corbett vs. Dempsey spans the last thirty years of his career, from 1972 onward, and makes a nice comparison with a previous show that spanned the first twenty (1948-1968) shown at the gallery in 2006. “I’ve always tried to adjust between those two poles, formal and informal,” Barzani recently said, and it seems like his “adjustment” just keeps getting better and better, running the gamut from subtle arrangements of almost-white, almost-perfect rectangles to Ab-Ex explosions that look like the jumbled memory of driving all the way down Western Avenue. His paintings feel positive, passionate, modest, sincere, and hard-working—which is to say, they are very Chicago—though a few miles inland from the fashionable lakefront. (Chris Miller)
Through February 14 at Corbett vs. Dempsey, 1120 N. Ashland.