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A performance with Claire Ashley's "Double Disco" (2012).
The inflatable, neon-splashed sculptures currently stuffed into the galleries of the Chicago Cultural Center are sure to bring a smile to your midweek routine.
Claire Ashley is the woman behind "frizzflopsqueezepop," an exhibit on view now through March 31. The Scottish-born artist and School of the Art Institute professor is also the mother of three young children, who were fittingly dressed in neon for the show's opening last weekend.
Ashley mines the experiences of motherhood to create works that challenge the status quo of "serious" fine art. Her sculptures are playful and soft, and their unwieldy proportions are a reflection of her quest for a life balance that includes finding time and space to make art.
Ashley's PVC-coated canvases are sewn into cheerfully impractical shapes, then spray-painted in an almost graffiti-art style (partially influenced by her daily commute from Oak Park to the Loop).
But you don't need to hit the gallery to see Ashley's work. In an outdoor performance titled "Disco Dozen for Daley" scheduled for noon on March 21, humans will climb inside Ashley's sculptures to help them spring to life in Daley Plaza. (Check out a video of a performance in a Wisconsin field last summer.)
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.; 312-744-6630 or explorechicago.org
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