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Review: IDADA's 8th Membership Exhibition 

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click to enlarge Marna Shopoff, "Complimentary Exchange" (detail)
  • Marna Shopoff, "Complimentary Exchange" (detail)

This year’s IDADA group show offers an absorbing view into the work of some very talented artists. Juror Michelle Grabner, a Chicago-area artist, professor and gallerist, chose Ben Madeska’s “Short Rib” and Mary Lou Dooley Waller’s “Unexplained Occurrence” for first and second place, respectively. Both are strong pieces. Madeska’s oil painting renders a macabre-seeming cut of meat in a delicate way; while in Dooley Waller’s charcoal piece, brilliant blues and oranges combine with negative spaces to create a mysterious visual environment.

It must have been difficult to choose two prizewinners, and the nod could have gone just as easily to other artists in the show. Marna Shopoff’s “Complimentary Exchange” is a striking oil painting with lines going every which way that seems to betray perspective and straddles the line between figuration and abstraction. It is tough to say what you are looking at and from where when viewing the painting, but it is beautiful and engaging regardless.

Another frontrunner is Courtland Blade’s oil painting “The Grocery Store.” Depicting the recent implementation of “self-check out” mechanisms at grocery stores, the painting succeeds in showcasing the robotic, faceless and vaguely futuristic experience that buying groceries has become. Through Sept. 28 at Gallery #2 at the Harrison Center for the Arts

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