MiniReview: Site Unspecific @ O’Connor Art Gallery

(Note: I’m catching up on my backlog of shows I attended, photographed, and never wrote about. Enjoy the pictures and the brief summary.)

At the end of September, Dominican University’s O’Connor Gallery opened Site Unspecific, a group show which included work by Heather Mekkelson, Mara Baker, Adam Farcus, Rafael E. Vera, Brian Yates and Heidi Norton. The pieces were linked by the thread of site specificity, though each referenced a specific site outside of the gallery. Not all of the artwork here sustained the interest and had the conceptual skin to carry the theme, and some merely suggested an unknown place without going any further, but there were notable works. Adam Farcus’s sculpture, a paper chain draped over the track lights and doing much for the exhibition’s overall framing, was constructed from photocopied maps of the stars that would have been visible above at the time and place of his birth. Heather Mekkelson’s Debris Field was a reconstructed disaster, with artifacts of tragedy such as melted aluminum and burnt file cabinets meticulously reconstructed by Mekkelson from photographs of real remains. The show ended up relying on and challenging my trust in the artists’ claims, an interaction highlighted best by Heidi Nortons photographs which may or may not be accurate to their titles, and I spent the drive home wondering about that intersection of representation and belief. Without any way to validate the fact, would it matter if Farcus’s stars were from yesterday?

Site Unspecific @ O'Connor Gallery

Site Unspecific @ O'Connor Gallery

Brian Yates, Untitled

Brian Yates, Untitled

Heidi Norton, Hariett Tubman's Birthplace

Heidi Norton, Hariett Tubman's Birthplace

Mara Baker, deterioration of: (boardwalk)

Mara Baker, deterioration of: (boardwalk)

Brian Yates

Brian Yates

Rafael E. Vera, Two Stairs

Rafael E. Vera, Two Stairs

Brian Yates, untitled (for HM Tomlinson)

Brian Yates, untitled (for HM Tomlinson)

Heather Mekkelson, Debris Field

Heather Mekkelson, Debris Field

Site Unspecific opened on September 29th, 2009 and runs until December 13th, 2009 @ Dominican University’s O’Connor Art Gallery, 7900 W Division St. in River Forest.

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