Were you able to translate the atmosphere and euphoria of being at your favorite club listening to your favorite band into strictly visual terms, it might resemble “Busted Amp” at Columbia’s A+D Gallery. Curated by the Anchor Graphics printing workshop, “Busted Amp” features some of Chicago’s finest screen-printers, highlighting their work for local bands and venues. The images are manic, bustling, crowded shoulder to shoulder, with pieces not only displayed, but also screen-printed directly onto the walls, repeating motifs that run the length of the gallery. These direct-to-wall prints cushion the hanging pieces, mingling in a way that invokes the interplay between audience and artist, such as when Jay Ryan’s toothy tree stump, a ghost floating on the plaster, nearly takes a bite out of Mat Daly’s glossy “Valley of Desolation” series, atomized images of the world as seen through the haze of floods and strobes. Kathleen Judge’s “Neko Case” is a simple, beautiful tidal wave sweeping away civilization, maybe what people once thought rock ‘n’ roll would do; maybe what they still think Neko Case will do. Diana Sudyka’s lush narrative prints might be better than the music they promote, her swimming horses and flocks of birds flying from man’s mouth certainly more poetic than what you’re likely to hear on the open airwaves. Rob Doran, John Solimine, Dan MacAdam and Nick Butcher also offer playful and elegant work that moves from minimal composition to overflowing psychedelia, creating the kind of visceral energy one expects to get smacked in the stomach with in front of man-sized speakers while in the throng of a sweating crowd. (Damien James)
Through July 23 at Columbia College A+D Gallery, 619 South Wabash Avenue, (312) 344-8687.