Amid the frigid Chicago temperatures, Susan Kraut’s still life paintings allow a sojourn into the plush countryside of northern Italy. Ripened pears, cherries and pomegranates lounge in a windowsill while distant hills and trees are blurred in the beyond. Natural light comes through the panes, creating warmth inside as the sun dances among scarlet cherries and rusty persimmons. Blue skies in the background outline joie de vivre despite the curling of fallen leaves. Other scenes are more contemplative, with gray clouds eclipsing misty mountains. Green vines begin to wilt as persimmons and pears show signs of rot, reminding one that particular moments in time are fleeting. Kraut’s scenes thus de-emphasize the literal world and exact representation, but favor inner reflection on the simple perfection of nature and our emotions toward it. The darkened landscape outside contrasts with the texture of everyday fruits. While shadows that lurk almost mischievously show the fragile beauty of an instant. (Ben Broeren)
Through January 30 at 704 N. Wells, (312) 664-3406.