Lorado Taft, Chicago’s pioneer and premier public sculptor, whose monumental works continue to shape our urban sensibility—although they have been dwarfed by progress—receives a tribute on the 150th anniversary of his birth in this well-curated exhibition of vintage photographs of his atelier and contemporary images of his sculpture, mostly shot by Phil Moloitis in color. A skilled architectural photographer with a keen compositional eye and emotional sensitivity, Moloitis brings out the nuances of expression that Taft infused into his obdurate and massive media. Nowhere is that subtlety more apparent than in Moloitis’ two studies of “Eternal Silence,” a figure shrouded in a flowing cape—with only its deeply shadowed upper face exposed—that stands ramrod straight before the grave of Dexter Graves in Graceland Cemetery. In an image that captures the figure frontally and whole on a softly sunny winter day, Moloitis conveys the impenetrability of death—harsh, yet tranquil. Moving close up, Moloitis renders the subject’s cloaked face, with only its nose visible, in a way that evokes pathos. (Michael Weinstein)
Through August 27 at Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State.