Zhou Brothers | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Zhou Brothers 

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Born and trained in China, the Zhou brothers, who came to Chicago in 1986, make collaborative art that reflects a mix of Eastern and Western influences. They're best known for their paintings, but their prints are equally strong, as can be seen in the exhibit of mostly woodblock prints at Oskar Friedl. Several untitled works in their "Water Lily" series juxtapose a vertical dark band and a lighter rectangle; in one, the left band is a deep maroon with barely visible darker markings, and the aqua field at right is interrupted by flowing white lines--thick ones suggesting lilies, thinner ones ripples in water. These works show a distinctively Chinese use of empty space, while the lines have a rhythmic musicality as well as a calligraphic quality that gives them a vaguely symbolic suggestiveness. The tougher and less lyrical Group Dance presents four deep blue figures standing legs apart, facing the viewer with a mysteriously powerful assertiveness. The print's mottled surface recalls that a key inspiration for the brothers was ancient Chinese rock art. Oskar Friedl, 300 W. Superior, room 202 , through June 7. Hours are 10 to 6 Tuesday through Saturday; 312-867-1930.

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