The tragedy of Katrina continues to serve as a political bludgeon even as the media’s prediction of a disastrous Gustav did not live up to the hype. It is within this climate that Heather Mekkelson creates her scenes of devastation. “Limited Entry” at Old Gold blends seamlessly with the wood-paneled basement that serves as the gallery space. A flood scene, the high-water mark rings the space jumping from curtains, to mirrors, to paintings, as it circles the room. In the closets the top half of the clothes are pristine and the other crusted with silt. Dimly lit by a lone halogen lamp the room had some signs of cleanup like rubber gloves, fans and buckets. Muddy trinkets litter the floor. These knick-knacks are not really people’s mementos; rather, they are a picture of what people’s mementos might look like after a flood. A little like a movie set, the scene was convincing but ultimately not real. The effect could serve as a catharsis for media-driven paranoia, or a form of adventure tourism for the storm-chaser type. Mekkelson’s objects are taken from the same footage and headlines that create the natural-disaster spectacle, but somehow seeing a picture of the spoilt life in person makes one think of the other people for whom it is not a picture. (Dan Gunn)
Through September 21 at Old Gold, 2022 N. Humboldt Blvd, basement entrance, (773)653-9956
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