by Mary Rechner

Alex Mackin Dolan


When you enter Cycle, Sun, Limit you see a large photo on the floor: a slice of bed, a table top filled with glasses.  On top of the photo is an actual empty glass.  The room is filled with tables and glasses, all empty,  many of them etched with the phrase, “three liters recommended daily; every day do not forget.”  I feel both encouraged and warned.

On one table sits an open backpack; I am pleased by the invitation to look inside, curious to see what has been deemed necessary in this world, and not entirely reassured.  A sweater, notebooks, a scientific chart, a can of CO2.

Two of the other tables display games: solitaire on a computer, and an elaborate board game.  Games to me suggest the need to engage the mind and pass the time.  A need for an engaging structure, a way to facilitate the interaction between people, or a way to relate to the self.

I’ve always been a reluctant gamer; I’d rather just hang out and talk.  Thus I am drawn to the pictures on the walls.  Mostly people in groups.  In one, a tour guide walks backwards; the image below it is the same but distorted, as if to illustrate the energy either absorbed or emanating from the people.  We are all in this together.  But then, another image, a singular girl absorbed in what she’s holding– another game?  We are all alone.


The final table holds the fragment of a stone sun, and another empty glass.  I suggest ignoring the pamphlet available at the entry to this installation/series of sculptures/images at least until you’ve experienced it… and maybe altogether.  It might be more interesting to discover what you bring to the work, rather than to feel confident about what you take away.

Mary Rechner is the author of Nine Simple Patterns for Complicated Women. She lives in Portland.