Lebofsky, Mannis and O'Brien
Western Exhibitions, through Jul 15.
Excedrin, gouache and macaroni are just three of the tools employed by Chicago artists Eric Lebofsky, Josh Mannis and William J. O’Brien in this seemingly lighthearted exploration of psychology, spirituality, pop culture and other timely themes.
Lebofsky’s humorous illustrations appear along with recent paintings like The Villains, a candy-colored depiction of two less-than-menacing ninjas; and Bird Man, in which a bearded man’s Marge Simpson coiffure becomes a nest for some winged friends. O’Brien’s Run, Where My Body Touches the Undead, Part 2, is either a secular shrine or a statement that relics are inherently ridiculous. The installation includes ceramic vessels; cross-shaped objects adorned with pink sequins; and a white sculpture that evokes an African mask. Mannis’s mesmerizing photocollages play with scale to suggest science run amok: 100% Red Dragon frames a photograph of a scientist in the lab with freakishly oversize red flowers. In a video “My Life in the Sunshine,” white tablets swirl around a young woman standing on a rooftop as she gazes dreamily into the distance.
Though the hypnotic piece comes off as “My Life on Zoloft,” it’s a mash-up of Mannis’s original footage and a clip from Exorcist II: The Heretic. Like the rest of this exhibition, it’s fun to watch, but it does make one wonder about the dark forces—and abysmal sequels—lurking beneath the shiny, happy surface of American consumer culture.—Lauren Weinberg