Champaign Tastes

With this installation Kendrick returns flight to the realm of the imagination, where it prospered before the efficiencies and inefficiencies of modern travel. Flight as a prospect, as an activity to be imagined, has a power beyond that of the 747. In "Jumper" this is a feminine power, marked by ingenuity, absurdity and pathos.

The final installation, "Pacing, Yourself" by Cynthia Pachikara is, as with the other works on display here, remarkable for its textural qualities. Local artist and computer-imaging guru Paul Guzzardo has said that part of what drives artists is "a search for texture, almost a DNA need to surround yourself with it." Each of these artists exhibits that need and its attainment. Pachikara works with layers of light and image. Two overhead projectors are set apart from each other on the floor. One produces a bright rectangle of white light that extends from floor to wall; the other projects an image of pairs of shoes set outside a threshold. Yet a third video image, birds in flight, is layered onto these others from the ceiling. These images are constantly changing -- the birds are barely visible, then concentrated in a brief, frenetic storm; attached to one projector is a device that rotates a small triangular board that repeatedly blocks the lens so that shoes disappear and reappear.

Add to this the viewer, whose body blocks one light source, darkening and deepening the imagery, transforming the white light to blue.

Pachikara's is a haunting work, elegant, mysterious and one that invites repeated investigations.

That's true of this exhibition as a whole. Each of these artists invites the viewer into her work as an active participant. Some artists achieve -- even strive for -- separation or distance in their work, making art that is explicitly art (meaning that it is to be viewed as from some other realm, a contained object disengaged from the observer, an object to be admired, attained). The artists of Champaign Summer -- each in her own way -- dissolve the barriers of the artistic enclave and reform the gallery into a very welcome place.

Champaign Summer continues at the Forum for Contemporary Art through July 31.

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