Walking into Roots & Culture on an off day is always a treat. Two welcoming tiger-striped cats play fought on the wooden floor underneath the paintings and it was good to be inside out of the weather. Above the cats hung works by Carmen Price and Kristen VanDeventer. Price presented delicate gouache paintings of slightly folksy figures. Usually hovering in space as a tableau, the figures engage in a group activity, as in “Honing In.” Here a line of men carry an array of weaponry such as Uzis, axes and torches in search of something, like a mob on a witch-hunt. Price’s quirky imagery is never so vague as to be indecipherable but also never so clear as to be too literal. VanDeventer’s modestly scaled oil paintings feature strangely figured elements and bright color choices. When in her element, VanDeventer’s vision cranks out poetic works like “Sunset Eyes” and “Horizon” in which a darkly silhouetted figure stares off the canvas with its diminutive yellow pupils. Unfortunately some others don’t live up to that standard and don’t make sense within the context of the show. “Feral Children” suffers from a lack of coherence but its successes make it worth a look, especially on a lazy Chicago afternoon. (Dan Gunn)
Through May 17 at Roots & Culture, 1034 N. Milwaukee.