Fresh Paint
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Diane Thodos, The Vomiters, at Gallery Mornea
Tucked in the center gallery, surrounded by the work of the other printmakers with a show running simultaneously (Bert Menco, Paula Campbell, Janet Lefley, and Elizabeth Ockwell), Diane Thodos's work crowds the small room with the wildness of her rage at the current crew in Washington. She has always worked in an expressionist vein, but her latest work, all black and white lithographs, is more specific, less stylized and controlled than ever. Whereas in other works her figures have been somewhat generic "everyman" and "everywoman", here she gleefully and hatefully caricatures Bush, Rove, Cheney, etc., twisting the images and revealing the inner beasts and death dealers that they truly are.

No, not a political show at all. Deadly accurate, and quite satisfying documentary work. I do urge people to see it. The images remain just at the edge of bursting out of their picture planes. Another couple of years of this crap in Washington, and I think they'll be leaping out and running in the streets.

PS. I was told that one store in Evanston refused to carry a pile of the postcards for this show because they were "offensive." Good.

I was familiar with the work of the other artists at Gallery Mornea, who have been exhibiting fairly regularly around the area in the past few years, except for that of Janet Lefley. She also prints with the others up at Winnetka, having gone up there following what I've taken to calling the Great Schism that followed the expulsion of printmaking from the main building at the Evanston Art Center (now referred to as the Dark Ages) and before its joyous Restoration in the basement of Noyes.

Anyway, Lefley showed wonderful small prints of animals, joyous and accurate without being fussy. A few were hand colored, but most were just black and white etchings, in no way falling into the "cat painting" category. (A note to Gallery Mornea -- it would help if you mentioned the mediums used on the labels, not just the title).

There was quite a crowd on Friday at the opening, a good thing to see. Audrey Nifenegger, who led the group to Winnetka, was there, having just returned from a literary conference in Sydney, Australia and gave me a lead on finding type for the Challenge press we've recently acquired from Columbia College.

But a friend tried to get away with illegally parking while she ran in to take a look at the show and got caught.

When in Evanston, never, ever try this. It's the only source of income the city has.

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