Chicago’s very own global princess of pop photography, Patty Carroll, once gained her renown from her color shots of our sweet home’s hotdog stands, elevating them to the rank of Louis Sullivan’s or Frank Lloyd Wright’s landmarks. Now she has served up color “portraits” of “female forms” swathed and smothered in all manner of fabrics, from clothing to draperies and tapestries to blankets, so that we can’t imagine what the flesh inside the culture might look like if, indeed, there is any. There is a feminist agenda here about how women have been reduced to anonymity by the oppressive social roles enforced by patriarchal society, but fortunately the political preaching is undercut by Carroll’s exuberant imagination, which guarantees that each of her images is so radically individualized and seductive that they collectively end up reeking of beauty power with a bit of tongue in the chic. How can one help but drool over “Cake Plate” where the red and white polka-dot dish serves as a surrogate head for a body engulfed by flowing floral curtains? (Michael Weinstein)
At Chicago Cultural Center, 78 East Washington, (312)744-6639, through September 30.