Three artists mixing photographs with real objects furtively slip amplified meaning into the worn conceptual routine of representation-versus-reality. Most provocative are Dennis Adams' fluorescent lighted structures that take their overall form from elements within their mural sized photographs. "Preferred Properties" blockades a black-and-white blow-up of boat people ascending a rope ladder behind vertical bars of fluorescent tubing. The irregular spacing of the Dan Flavin-esque light structure turns the limp stairway into a symbolic Jacob's ladder but also into electified bars forbidding entry--a strong reminder of the world's reaction to the boat people's survival on the open sea.
Jennifer Bolande's work is an odd mixture of flag poles, speaker cones, telephone books and color photographs that would warm the heart of any poetic assemblage artist. Pieces are bubbly, delighting in allusions to movement and sound. There's a turntable innuendo in "Fuzzy Photo." Like all assemblage, each object brings its own layer of meaning to the pieces. The flag poles suggest ideas from heraldic banners to marketing ploys or wry symbols for attainment. When paired with disconnected speakers they become a strong comment on the disconcerting power of silence from positions of tradition or authority.
Alan Belcher's two pieces play with the idea of skin for a sort of unity of covering and structure. Visually arresting but hard to decipher is "Tan Line," a string of wooden pallets hung by rope from the wall and dangling onto the floor. Individual planks are covered with nail studded color enlargements of Belcher's tan line and create a staccato orange tinted line along the wall. This uniting of body with architecture is fun but certainly light-weight stuff after Adams and Bolande. (Margo Leavin Gallery, 817 N. Hilldale Ave., to June 30.)