Of Need and Fulfillment

“Gratification” at Mana Contemporary
STEPHEN URCHICK

STEPHEN URCHICK

It’s something captured by a war reporter; it’s lifted from a horror film. Raw hamburger sloughs off the artist’s face and naked body, held in various poses. Photography flash-freezes four individual moments of sloppy decomposition. The resulting pictures are part of “Gratification,” a joint exhibition between six artists out of the School of the Art Institute (SAIC), hosted in unit 410 at Mana Contemporary, a satellite space of the Chicago Urban Art Society.

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An Animate Archive

Chase Joynt and Kristen Schilt populate the Gray Center with the past
Student Evan Hernandez leads a gallery tour. STEPHEN URCHICK

Student Evan Hernandez leads a gallery tour. STEPHEN URCHICK

The boilerplate image for “#FOLLOWUS,” a collaborative multimedia installation on display at the University of Chicago’s Gray Center, is a still from the original short film “Urban Renewal.” Continue reading

Drifting on the Rio Grande

Dream Theatre's original murder–thriller, "RIO"
Nicole Roberts as Mary Graves in Jeremy Menekseoghu’s “RIO.” Courtesy of Dream Theatre.

Nicole Roberts as Mary Graves in Jeremy Menekseoghu’s “RIO.” Courtesy of Dream Theatre.

Excuse me, my name is Mary Graves, and I’m a victim of spousal abuse.” So begins Dream Theatre’s “RIO,” a play written by Dream’s own Jeremy Menekseoglu and set in the rundown, sun-swept, nineties-ish border town of Hope, Texas. Continue reading

Son of a Golden Age

An interview with artist and game designer Eddo Stern
COURTESY OF EDDO STERN

COURTESY OF EDDO STERN

Whether he’s owning a crowd of wet, drunken rockers or depriving his players of sight, sound, and touch, game designer Eddo Stern brings games into untrodden settings, onto unfrequented media. Continue reading

A New Angle

"Deacon's Choice" reps the South Side

Actors Eugene Parker, Byron G. Willis, Elizabeth Gray, Bridgette Shorter, and Shannon Matesky. COURTESY HAWK FILMZ

Aired secrets, shredded cover-ups: the nagging urge to sort out a family’s twisted history and gloss its garbled narrative. The literature surrounding “Deacon’s Choice,” an independent film currently in production, suggests a deep preoccupation with voices and the stories they weave. Continue reading

An Admirable Assault on the Senses

Steve Sherrell's "Mixed Bag" at 33 Contemporary
"Pin the Tail" by Steve Sherrell

“Pin the Tail” by Steve Sherrell

Steve Sherrell’s “Mixed Bag” is less jumbled than the title lets on. The new exhibition, hosted by 33 Contemporary at the Zhou B Art Center in Bridgeport, puts bold outlining and a canvas’s meticulous, geometric subdivision into correspondence with canvases removed from their stretchers, literally slit apart and stitched together again. Insistently, distinct shapes and broad fields of color contrast with canvases that are dismounted and distressed, minimal and morbid. But Sherrell’s digitally rendered “Mashups” anchor the exhibition by proposing a compromise—looking less consciously contrived, but remaining unscarred, intensely intricate, and exuberantly colorful. Continue reading

Glazing the Moment

Redmoon Winter Pageant
STEPHEN URCHICK

STEPHEN URCHICK

Dancing birds trickled out onto the chalk-sketched stage at an announcement from a moonlit man in a suspended cage. The largely uncostumed performers swirled and wove benignly around a glowing tree. They were happily at home, swelling and ebbing on mellow music until a congress of ravens descended in a storm—rippling the locals’ ranks and heightening the stakes. Their raven-lord lurched down from atop an unskinned hydraulic tower, flanked by wing-flapping henchmen. The resident birds, briefly cowed, now soared into a choreographed assault. Continue reading