Striking laser-cut installation brings the ancient past to the present in Chicago

Window to the Past

Striking laser-cut installation brings the ancient past to the present in Chicago

Ancient Age by John Clark and Taylor Holloway. (courtesy Comfort Station)

Architectural designers John Clark and Taylor Holloway are giving Chicago a look into the distant past with an exhibition titled Ancient Age: An Endless Journey in Place. Currently on show at the Logan Square Comfort Station—a small gallery on Chicago’s Northwest Side—the show runs through February 24th.

Ancient Ages is part of Comfort Station’s annual “Takeover Exhibition.” Conceived as a massive window-box diorama, the exhibition fills the building’s Southern windows. The carefully lit scenes represent the end of the last Ice Age—the Pleistocene Era—when the Midwest’s last ice sheet was recessing. The installation’s aim is to highlight the spatial character of the era, which has shaped the landscape of the Midwest but is scarcely visible in Chicago. A prehistoric scene is superimposed on distant Miesian towers, compressing time and space.

Dioramas, meanwhile, are composed of laser-cut imagery, lit to play with light and shadow. Multiple laser-cut layers include plant life and animals including the wooly mammoth and the saber-tooth tiger in what looks like a deep endless forest.

A scene from the Pleistocene Era fills the windows of Chicago’s Comfort Station in the Logan Square neighborhood. (Courtesy Comfort Station)

Comfort Station is a community-based multidisciplinary art space. It regularly holds art exhibitions, concerts, film, workshops, lectures, and participatory events. The building itself is, as the name would imply, a former comfort station of sorts: a public toilet.

John Clark teaches architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the School of the Art Institute Chicago, as well as being a designer at Chicago-based Jordan Mozer and Associates. Taylor Holloway is a project designer at Chicago-based Landon Bone Baker Architects.