Continuing through April 19, 2014
Distorted, “stressed” bodies have long been the emblem of the Chicago figurative tradition. Paul Nudd embraces the weird and uncomfortable character of this art historical legacy and amplifies it to an extreme. Nudd is known for his “gross out” caliber paintings and drawings, and there is no shortage of that repulsiveness here. In his portrait-like works on canvas, his subjects’ heads and shoulders are reduced to thick blobs of paint and collaged hair. Nearby, an installation of outmoded TV sets display looped videos of bubbling, viscous pools of paint.
Nudd’s works on paper are a true standout. Occupying the back gallery, these drawings display full-size figures replete with dangling genitalia, tails and extra limbs, all filled with growths, glands and oozing pustules. Nudd’s subjects are splayed out as if undergoing an autopsy or pressed onto a microscope slide, instilling in the viewer the desire to prod and examine. These mutant bodies are certainly gross, but with their cartoonish rendering and adolescent humor, they intrigue and delight rather than simply repel.