Leslie Carlson | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Leslie Carlson 

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If it weren't for the slab of meat replacing the figure's knee, Leslie Carlson's Self-Portrait With Rib Steak would be a well-made nude to nod at and walk away from. But the choice cuts in this and a half dozen other slightly skeletal self-portraits at Gescheidle open the works up. Appropriating the dripped, muted earth tones spiked with chalk whites that Francis Bacon once used to depict anonymous muscular men or long-dead popes, this 24-year-old artist carefully flays an icon of art history, the female nude--reminding us that female subjects and artists (and viewers) are still often seen as pieces of meat. Ironically, these canvases and smaller studies on wood are saved from being stale academic exercises or gory polemics by their subtle, exquisite beauty. Gescheidle, 300 W. Superior, through July 3. Hours are 11 to 6; 312-654-0600.

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