Kansas City artist Kacy Maddux continues to wow Chicago with her lexicon of enigmatic forms. In 2005, at the University of Chicago Renaissance Society’s group exhibition, “All the Pretty Corpses,” Maddux showed a collection of drawings that explored the literal and metaphysical aspects of the human figure. This go-round Maddux is flying solo and places these “corpses” within a geometrical landscape that evokes a journey toward a heavenly utopia. Forms hover in the foreground before great stairways that leads to an otherworldly paradise. Maddux’s interest in the body and religious iconography coalesce in these symmetrical works of space. The minimal quality of the drawings, the stark simplicity of the fine black line against the white ground, is a beautiful contrast to the work’s complex content. Recognizable shapes and symbols are infused with “perceived realities” and we are begged not to interpret them but rather to be mesmerized by them. They appear to be a possible explanation of the unexplainable: an epistemological search for truth found in human intelligence. It is interesting to note that each individual line is hand drawn without the aid of a ruler, recalling the precise and careful hand of a priest transcribing a holy, religious text. Be prepared to stand flat-footed in front of these drawings for minutes at a time, lost within the subtle nuances of Maddux’s mystical hand. (Karissa Lang)
Kacy Maddux shows at gescheidle, 1039 West Lake, (312)226-3500, through November 10.