Monkeys! Chimps and fighting baboons have come to Gardenfresh gallery, posing and screaming with delicate flowers and a bloody, half-eaten gazelle. Emily Roz’s large colored-pencil drawings, which also include a leopard killing an impala, are vivid and deft portraits that evoke both Francis Bacon and Planet of the Apes. There is inevitable anthropomorphizing here, especially in a drawing of a mama chimp and baby, but the dangerous teeth, dark red mouths and exquisitely rendered coats of the baboons supersede the impulse to humanize, filling the gallery with an equal sense of our distance from the wild kingdom. Roz’s skill ensures that even the most violent image is continually engrossing. Roz’s fellow Brooklynite Cammi Climaco has chosen a befuddling set of works for this exhibition. A Jenny Holzer-style faux-neon sign reads “Giving increases treasures in heaven,” while a soft black cloud dangles above the space from an arched pole. To the right is a witty work on paper—the word “Solitude” is writ in gangster gothic script with the poignant title “Study for Matching Tattoos.” Unfortunately, these different elements never come together as cohesive installation and each work suffers from the impact of that incongruity. (Rachel Furnari)
Through April 5 at GARDENfresh Gallery, 119 N. Peoria.