chicago

Michael Paha

Perimeter Gallery

Michael Paha’s installations are true organic theaters, complex and fully staffed ecosystems displaying interdependent links in the chain of life. He presents creatures of the earth, water, and air in continual performance, playing out slow-moving dramas over which the artist has limited control. His projects probe and intertwine the disciplines of science and art; they both instruct and delight.

House Unattended, 1989, a 26-foot-long piece that dominated this exhibition of three installations, is animated by the sight and sound of trickling water. Like some liquid Muzak, this soothes the viewer into a tranquil and receptive state. The piece as a whole is dense with water lilies, duckweed, papyrus plants, and ferns; its nether pool contains fish and tadpoles. Nine wooden support columns, carved to resemble weathered posts, are connected by horizontal elements, creating shelves or boxes

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