"Two and a half stars
Basile Gallery, Herron School of Art & Design.
Process-oriented artwork often begins with a good idea and then a labor-intensive making. But sometimes a final piece falls short of conveying the energy put into creating the work, thus resulting in hampered meaning. Such is the case with Jennifer Burkley’s installation. Obviously, Burkley’s work — made with 550,000 white pills individually drilled then threaded and knotted on white string — was carefully crafted and, I speculate, her approach therapeutic. The string of pills hangs like a ’60s beaded wall or 3-D Fred Tomaselli and directs viewers to the gallery’s center and a white reclining couch. Subtexts of addiction, dependency and a family struggle with depression are tackled. Gallery installation art needs to consider the look of the entire display space, and gray floors and dim light in the room do not serve the piece. Drawings included also seem unconnected. More drama or contrast could be achieved with additions such as a white floor or strong light to elicit beaded shadows and emphasize the purity of the “pearl necklace” or “Catholic rosary” (referenced in the gallery book). No doubt Burkley has the survivor skills to refine and redefine her work. Though April 29; www.herron.iupui.edu.