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Claire Ashley: Frizzflopsqueezepop

Claire Ashley’s paintings “do very little of what paintings are supposed to do.”

Chicago Cultural Center
Through March 31

Claire Ashley’s paintings “do very little of what paintings are supposed to do,” said Lori Waxman in the Chicago Tribune. Most of them don’t hang on walls but stand on their own: They’re tarpaulins doused in riotous color, sewn together, and inflated into room-filling pillow shapes that seem to be about nothing but themselves. In a video screened here, 12 pairs of human legs dance one of Ashley’s bulbous creations up a grassy hill to a country soundtrack: “It’s quite possible that no painting has ever had more fun.” But wander into this show’s later rooms and her bloated forms “begin to show signs of collapse and fatigue,” re-dramatizing the death of painting that we’ve been hearing about for nearly a century. Sadly, the party here is over “before it has barely begun.”

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