As I Only Can...Belong In a collection of untitled installations, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale professor Alex Lopez creates intricate miniature landscapes that look like snapshots of childhood as glimpsed in dreams. Changes in scale inform each scene with a diffused sense of menace: In the spare gallery, lit dimly by blue neon lights, a projection of a full moon looms above a thicket of tiny water towers, which in turn loom over an even smaller watchman's double-wide trailer. In another area of the space, a swath of blue sky is projected onto a small square, behind which dangle two small swings. It's an alluring nighttime world of empty high school stadiums, the small distant throb of industrial red lights, two-lane roads and the murmur of insects. A large projected fire blazes occasionally in a far corner of the gallery space, providing a kind of cartoonish allusion to harm.
As a strange marker of this work's success, the experience of leaving it is full of all the wistful disorientation of waking.
As I Only Can...Belong
Through March 20 at the Metropolitan Gallery, 2936 Locust Street; 314-535-6500. Hours: 11a.m.-5p.m. Wed.-Fri., and Saturday by appointment.