Visit “Sugarcraft,” the group exhibition of more than fifty international crafters and artists, and you might wonder if you haven’t somehow stumbled into a living Candy Land: a seven-tier table shaped like a giant pink cake festooned with crocheted Oreos, felt doughnuts and a box labeled “Recipes for Love” greets you at the door. Nikki Renee Anderson’s confectionary sculptures line the wall, followed by the large-scale embroideries of Connie Richards, theoretically wholesome creations that heighten the overwhelming sweetness of the exhibit. “Sugarcraft” borders on saccharine, however, its underlying bite—the twistedly lurid, erotic candy coating dripping from Anderson’s sculptures; the sexually charged silhouettes of apron-clad housewives found in Richards’ stitchery—infuses the show with a playful sardonicism far richer than the cream and sugar that coat a number of the pieces. Curator Wynter Whiteside deftly melds together a myriad of sugar-themed creations, with pieces ranging from works made of actual sugar (with both edible and non-edible end products) to those that, in tapping the DIY vein, turn the craft works/femme trope on its ear. “Sugarcraft” provides viewers with a broad range of choices, not only in themes and media, but in consumption as well: working with My Paper Crane, Whiteside creates an in-house mini-shop of small and affordable works created by a number of the artists in the show. Though frivolous and thoroughly sweet, “Sugarcraft” is surprisingly meaty, creating an indulgent experience too good to pass up. (Jaime Calder)
Through August 9 at Kasia Kay Art Projects Gallery, 1044 W. Fulton Market, (312)492-8828.