Anna Madeleine

Michael C. McMillen

One more for California- Train of Thought by Michael C. McMillen at The Oakland Museum of California. These works were scattered throughout the permanent collection of the museum - kind of like a treasure hunt, but they were worth looking for. Train of Thought is a big exhibition of his work spanning over the last 40 years - so it is incredibly in-depth and translates through many forms, which I am barely touching on here.

What stood out to me was his use of mechanical elements to alter the light and movement a piece, creating a theatrical sense of a recently abandoned inhabited space. His talent for model making meant many of the works involved intensely detailed and accurate miniature buildings, many of which were based on hotels - adding to the lingering sense of mystery, and balancing a use of junk - corrugated iron, found objects and scribbled on blackboards, with a calculated use of technology.

There are two large installation pieces which engage the audience in both the entire space of a room, with sound, water, and walk through spaces, down to tiny details of built models that you look at through peep holes in motel doors.

Red Trailor Motel

Opposite the motel, this wall installation was made by a simple moving light that changed the shadow so that it imitated cycles of daylight as though you were watching the sun rise and set again in the desert.

The video pieces were captivating as they moved seamlessly between montage pieces, using text, old footage, diagramatic elements and abstract film - relevant to the title Train of Thought

Below: Moth and brick