Therese Zemlin | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Therese Zemlin 

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The two galleries at I Space where Therese Zemlin's works are on exhibit are dark except for the light that comes from the small incandescent bulbs that shine through paper or film. For the impressive The Bed Project she placed 144 Japanese-style lanterns in a 12-by-12 grid on the floor; the lanterns' frames are covered with ink-jet prints on Japanese rice paper, made from scans of natural objects--pine needles, flowers, fireweed--she collected in northern Minnesota, where she has a cabin. For her eight small untitled pieces, which I liked even more, she wrapped photographic transparencies of berries and flowers and lichen--also from Minnesota--around a glass cylinder containing a flashlight bulb, then mounted them perpendicular to the wall. The projected image is bright and relatively sharp near the cylinder, but only an inch away it starts getting dim and distorted, until it fades into imperceptibility. I was reminded of Kirlian photography and the idea of plant auras--these ethereal traces of nature have a spooky presence, as if they were somehow continually diffusing throughout the space. I Space, 230 W. Superior, second floor, through October 4. Hours are 11 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday; 312-587-9976.

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