Paula Henderson | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Paula Henderson 

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Paula Henderson saw the destruction of the Robert Taylor Homes and Stateway Gardens--the subject of most of her 11 paintings and works on paper in Linda Warren Gallery's inaugural show--as turning modernism's "irreducible" grids into "screaming" forms. Demolition is a dynamic process, but Henderson seems to want to stop time, to find some universal within the chaos. The jagged pieces and irregular lines of broken floors and walls in The Next Migration/S. State I create an engaging alternative to the Mondrian-like grids they disrupt. The Next Migration/S. State VII is an implied critique of public housing's copycat modernist designs. But these arrays of broken forms hanging on rebar in midair seem frozen in place, and they attain an almost monumental permanence. The one work here that doesn't depict a housing project, The Next Migration VI, shows the wreckage of what was once a relatively opulent building on South Michigan, including a floor fragment that Henderson thinks had a faux-tile linoleum design. The "migration" of her titles refers both to the original migration of African-Americans to Chicago in search of opportunity and to the migration forced by these demolitions. Linda Warren Gallery, 1052 W. Fulton, through August 30. Hours are 11 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday; 312-432-9500.

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