Ravinder Reddy | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Ravinder Reddy 

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Blending Indian religious art and popular culture, Ravinder Reddy creates sculptures the New York Times has called "kitsch for the ages." In his first one-person show here, he uses industrial paint on fiberglass to evoke some of the paradoxes of this blending: his six large female heads are imposing, humorous, cheerful--and a bit frightening. Some also echo ancient Egyptian sculpture, and all have a sphinxlike impenetrability. Lakshmi Devi, painted gold, reveals a hint of a smile; the back of her head is covered with a fiberglass rendering of elaborately decorated fabric held in place by netting. Appayamma's red face is a little less cheery; her hair is woven together with fabric and a field of sunflowers. These hairstyles reflect actual ones, connecting the heads to the daily world. Even more fascinating are their eyes, which seem to remove them utterly from the present: the dark pupils stare into the distance with an expressionlessness that suggests the women are either iconically all knowing--or blind. Reddy does a great job of using contradiction to represent today's cultural mix. Walsh, 118 N. Peoria, second floor, through July 11. Hours are 10:30 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday; 312-829-3312.

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