Mekkelson is known for her work confronting the ruin and the disaster through sculpture and installation. Over the course of years the artist developed a body of work that referenced and meticulously recreated natural disasters sourced through depictions in the media. Mekkelson’s practice is based on research and rigorous cataloging. Almost like a forensic scientist, she has dissected the scenes of abject waste left by hurricanes and flooded basements.
Now Slices does not mark a departure from this process but perhaps an evolution, to borrow an idiom from the, “couch scientist, watching NOVA and thinking about space/time travel,” as the artist describes herself. The phrase “now slices” refers to the idea that multiple realities can exist simultaneously. Mekkelson also likes the idea that it sounds like something you’d find at a food court. Grabbing pizza from a perpetual present sounds much more appetizing than getting one of those lamp-warmed “then slices” one usually finds in malls and convenience stores.
The mixing of scientific hypotheses and everyday matters is a core attribute of Mekkelson’s project these days: finding the universe in your backyard. Previously, work was created along strict guidelines from carefully categorized resources and referents. The work in Now Slices comes from a loosening of restrictions, allowing for a more intuitive and experiential method. In the past detritus of lives exploded by natural phenomena was fabricated. Now Mekkelson is taking the detritus of everyday life, the slices of now, and is making them into models of the universe.
Heather Mekkelson lives and works in Chicago. Selected exhibitions include Wood Work, Columbia College A&D Gallery, Chicago, 2013; Invisible Apocalypse (with Bill Berger), Roots and Culture; Embracing the Farb, curated by Julie Rudder, Columbia College Glass Curtain Gallery, Chicago; and Two Histories, curated by Karsten Lund, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, all in 2012. The Great Poor Farm Experiment, The Poor Farm, Manawa, WI in 2009; Limited Entry, Old Gold and Debris Field, Threewalls, both in Chicago in 2008; and Bellwether, curated by Shannon Stratton, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA (traveled to Alternator, Kelowna, Canada) in 2008. Mekkelson’s work has been featured by Art Journal, Art21 Magazine, Artforum.com, Artnet, Flavorpill, Hyperallergic, Newcity, and Time Out Chicago. She is the recipient of an Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue Award.