Gerhard Mantz | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Gerhard Mantz 

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Though Gerhard Mantz's ten computer-generated landscapes at Oskar Friedl have the texture of digital creations, their designs are atypically and admirably sparse. Taking 19th-century landscape painting as his primary model, Mantz produces works that suggest the changed nature of Romantic aspirations in the digital age: Caspar David Friedrich's landscape paintings imbue his locales with magic; Mantz's repetitive surfaces are just as mysteriously subjective. In Labiler Ort some unusually craggy peaks are bathed in a Friedrich-like sunset glow, and the vanishing point of the implied lines leading up to them seems to be the hidden sun. The terraced bands on the hillside of Time Travel No. 9 are as numerous as Saturn's rings, and little holes in the land repeat with preternatural regularity. The forested hills and valleys of Vorubergehende Unsterblichkeit seem to invite the viewer to walk through them, but closer inspection reveals no individual trees, only green surfaces punctuated by dark lines. The strangely melancholy beauty of these places can't be traversed--we're hopelessly distanced from nature. Oskar Friedl, 300 W. Superior, through July 23. Hours are noon to 5 Tuesday through Saturday; 312-867-1930.

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