The Impotent Landscape | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Impotent Landscape 

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The curators of this engaging group show, Duncan MacKenzie and Shannon Stratton, argue that the "transcendent" visions of past landscape artists such as Turner are no longer possible in a world that's been "stripmined, overdeveloped, amusementparked." MacKenzie's miniature sculpture Model for Communal Gathering is a patch of grass jammed with cars and people that has a junkyard-chaos charm. Stratton's more poetic Wish You Were Here--a wall collage of an alpine scene in paper, cellophane, vinyl, and white tape, out of which poke black plastic cutouts of evergreens--makes an almost Japanese use of uncluttered space. At once a study in cheap paper and plastic and an evocation of an impressive natural scene, this work doesn't reach for the sublime, but it does elicit a gently meditative response. Chris Gillespie's Snowmobile and Trees--made of clay, plaster, and modeling compound--consists of seven lumpy white treelike shapes placed on the floor under the gallery's storefront window with a single yellow snowmobile pointed at them. The well-worn floor dominates these suggestive blobs, which seems deliberate: for many people nature has become what we can imagine in the rectangles of our cities. Pond, 1152A N. Milwaukee, through July 6. Hours are noon to 5 Saturday; 773-368-8484.

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