Marjorie Guyon | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Marjorie Guyon 

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With their small central images surrounded by rectangles of mottled red or yellow, the eight paintings by Marjorie Guyon at G.R. N'Namdi recall the ruined wall paintings of Pompeii and Herculaneum, but in place of natural decay she offers craft. Made of marble dust mixed with pigments from soil, her luminescent color fields seem to lift off the canvas, giving the space around them a vibrant glow. Abyssinia #15 sets a hard-to-identify shape--actually a picture of a pitcher's spout taken from a book and collaged onto a panel--in a field of red. Abyssinia #14 has a Buddha figure collaged from several book images, some of Buddhas, surrounded by yellow. Guyon says she got the idea for this "figure of compassion" after the Taliban destroyed two giant Buddhas, though she says her focus is less on specific symbolism than on "that ancient and universal knowledge that we carry in the quietest part of our heart." Like the art of Pompeii and Herculaneum, these paintings evoke ancient cultures we can never fully know, while the fields of color tend to universalize the objects at the center, setting them adrift, like vivid but hard-to-place memories, in the viewer's imagination. G.R. N'Namdi, 110 N. Peoria, through May 24. Hours are 11 to 6 Tuesday through Friday, 11 to 5 Saturday; 312-563-9240.

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