"Kink," regular and super | Art Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

"Kink," regular and super 

Two artists interpret sexual idiosyncasy at Design Cloud Gallery

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Part of Harry Sudman's Kink painting series

Part of Harry Sudman's Kink painting series

Design Cloud Gallery's "Kink" comprises two very different meditations on the titular noun. Harry Sudman's photorealist paintings are the least surprising: though technically impressive, they highlight the sort of subject matter most tediously associated with kink. We see sexy ladies wearing patent-leather fetish gear, looking sultry, and sometimes posed against a bright red background. In a few paintings Sudman introduces a voyeuristic angle—women viewed, say, through a window frame, on the verge of doing something compromising. But that's about as complex as it gets.

This show really belongs to local club legend JoJo Baby, whose totally gonzo phallocentric art lines the wall facing Sudman's paintings. Baby works across media, which is to say that elaborate 3-D creations are interspersed with Polaroids of men showing off penises in various states of erection. There's also a couple stuffed dolls; Sunshine consists of a tie-dyed hippie character with long beard and a dick to match. But what's most impressive here is Baby's Erotic Landscapes series, which may be considered idyllic if you're soothed by nature scenes in which tumescent penises sprout like tulips. Displayed under elegant glass domes, these exuberant sculptural pieces feature plaster-cast phalluses growing amid moss and little creatures that feed off of them. In Erotic Landscapes #3, for instance, a seahorse with a butterfly on its back sucks the, um, nectar from the head of a penis. In another sculpture it's a frog doing the feeding. He looks really engorged, so one imagines he's been at it a while.

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