He Said/She Said is a project space devoted to the exchange of ideas between art and daily life, so it’s hard to imagine a better setting for Michael Stickrod’s work. It’s located in the Oak Park home of artists Pamela Fraser and Randall Szott, who take turns curating in a back-and-forth manner. Fraser gravitates toward contemporary art practice, while Szott pushes those boundaries by focusing on cultural phenomena that may fall outside the realm of art proper, such as found grocery list collections or lectures on eating locally. Stickrod represents a convergence of the two perspectives: he’s a young artist who has shown at various galleries and at the New Museum, but his work focuses mostly on his personal life, often taking the form of vacation movies, family photographs, painted ceramic plates and other “amateur” practices that tend to be relegated to attics and basements. His Polaroid family portraits and larger-format images share a similar snapshot aesthetic, and Stickrod has installed them in a cozy manner that makes them hard (though not impossible) to distinguish from Fraser and Szott’s belongings. A black and white video of Stickrod’s wife and child plays on a small video monitor in the dining room while a larger, similarly themed video projection hovers over a living-room sofa. This particular iteration of Stickrod’s work foregrounds the installation as a whole over individual pieces, but the show’s real success lies in its ability to conjure the warmth and beauty that’s possible when artistic ambition and family life harmoniously coexist. (Claudine Isé)
Through April 11 at He Said/She Said, 831 South Grove Avenue, Oak Park, (708)310-2607. By appointment.