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Review: After Classical Portraiture/Schneider Gallery

Photography, River North Add comments

Lydia Panas

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In this group show of conceptual color photographers, Lydia Panas stands out with her portraits of young men, women and children sharply etched against deep black backgrounds as they hold food in their hands. In all cases, the subjects are as doleful as can be, exuding discomfort and displeasure, and, in consequence, subverting the references to life and its bounty that would ordinarily awaken affirmation. We see a bare-chested boy, clutching half of an enormous cut-open cabbage, who looks as though he is groaning under the weight of the world and would just as soon let it all go. Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman go at playing with our expectations another way, combining digital prints with cyanotypes in a multi-stage process that ends up embedding intricate floral motifs in the outlines and sometimes a few features of human faces. The result can sometimes be eerily disturbing, as when tendrils radiate from a glowing black eye. We are not meant to feel at home in either body of work. (Michael Weinstein)

Through July 7 at Schneider Gallery, 230 West Superior

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