Chicago

Barbara Aubin

Fairweather Hardin Gallery

Barbara Aubin’s collages are several layers thick with beads, buttons, pearls, cameos, necklaces, ribbons, brooches, hair ornaments, stuffed birds, artificial flowers, embroidered buttons, lace—and other objects which she has called “reference material” for “a woman’s life.” These collections are arranged in glass-front cabinets or shadow-box frames giving them a treasure chest appearance. Vivacious details and contrasting sensuous textures raise questions of how or whether the objects were altered, where they originated, how old they happen to be, if they ever were used, where Aubin found them, how well the new things fit with the old, what sort of person would assemble such a collection.

The main problem here, paradoxically, is a lack of real content. Titles such as Flight of the Bumblebee or Me, Myself, and I offer clues as to why scores of pipe-cleaner bumblebees are arranged in

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