Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Review: Jessica Labatte/Golden Gallery

Lakeview, Photography Add comments


In an elaborate multi-stage process that would need a monograph to describe it, Jessica Labatte makes triangular constructions out of the paper used in color theory courses, arranges them in complicated arrays, shoots them in color as slides and as negatives, “cross-processes” the two impressions when she develops them (forget the details), and selects one of the resulting prints to display. What we see are distinctive abstractions that are engaging by virtue of their elegant yet dynamic composition, their juxtaposition of complementary and contrasting colors (she gives her images such titles as “Cross Processed (Magenta to Lime Green)”), the subtle shadows that they cast, and the fine gradations of tonality that painters would give their eye teeth for. Labatte always starts with a “base color” blend—yellow transitioning into orange, or purple into blue, for example—that forms the background, and then sharpens it, differentiates it, punctuates it and opposes it in the depictions of the constructions. Often elaborate processes mean that an elephant has given birth to a mouse. Not here; all the effort was worth the complex and unified visual experience that results. (Michael Weinstein)

Through June 9 at Golden Gallery, 3319 North Broadway

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