The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Ugly Smile At Peanut Gallery: A Journey In Humor

By Carrie McGath in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 28, 2014 3:35PM

The “Ugly Smile” exhibition at Peanut Gallery is an investigation of humor with the artists expunging and exploring their base instincts, wants and needs. The exhibit is dynamic in each artist's unique versions of humor. The artists are all very different in their use of media and the execution of their genre, and the thematic feel that connects it all makes for a solid exhibition.

Danielle Dobies’ “Throw Some Glitter, Make It Rain” hangs from the gallery wall as an elaborate creature that is part Dangerous Liaisons and part Dr. Seuss. Its materials— dacron, steel, and plastic gemstones— create a headdress of sorts, adding a complexity in texture and in her expression of humor. The plastic and wood sculpture, "I Can Feel the Weight of This World" by Jake Racina, has a self-loathing wit as a green shelf bows under the weight of a pair of discolored underwear. Its serious meditation on minimalism only makes what is going on all the more humorous and even absurd.

“Put Your Dick Where Your Mouth Is” by Kara Mortensen is a watercolor with ballpoint that looks from afar to be abstract floral composition, but is really a phallus-soaked landscape of some fantastical place. Her work is very much reminiscent of the artwork of Hans Bellmer, and Mortensen seems to be the female 21st century version of the sexually-driven surrealist. It conveys humor in the overall cartoonish quality even though her technique is incredibly focused, studied and precise.

The works range from painting, to photography, to sculpture and are executed with incredible technique in dealing with concepts of sex, self-deprecation and gluttony as related to the complexity of humor and the dimensions of laughter. There is a quality of Hairy Who, Surrealism, and Dadaism in "Ugly Smile" that fits so perfectly in a space like Peanut Gallery, a cooperative establishment run by artists who know very well the top emerging artists we should all get to know.

Through Aug. 10 at Peanut Gallery, 1000 N. California Ave.