Troubled Sleep in Palo Alto

Troubled Sleep in Palo Alto: A long-term installation at Dogpatch Gallery, 2295 3rd Street, San Francisco.  Five large-scale assemblages will be installed in the gallery.

Notes on Exhibited Works


As its title suggests, Large Hadron Collider is modeled (to a very high degree of fidelity) on one of the detectors of the LHC at CERN in Geneva. While the piece without question does resemble a mandala, it is not the artist’s fault, for this is the precise way in which the physicists designed the great machine. Along with the artist’s signature computer components and hi-tech instruments and countless mundane objects, the piece also incorporates a very large cake pan, an industrial brazier, a racecar air filter and a hundred or so razor and scalpel blades. That said, the work, just as a mandala, can be used quite effectively as a consciousness-centering device.


Multiple Mirror Telescope also owes a debt design-wise to a large scientific instrument, in this case the Multiple Mirror Telescope that resides on Mt. Hopkins in Arizona. While admittedly not at all obvious, the work resonates with a number of works of the early Renaissance artist Jan van Eyck, in particular his Arnolfini Portrait. A universe unto itself, one can find, among its thousands of components, an 8-inch parabolic mirror, six Bose tweeters, hundreds of vacuum tubes, and a beam adjuster that once saw employment at the Stanford Linear Accelerator in Palo Alto.


Waking Up in Buffalo contains exactly four hundred vacuum tubes that are arranged in a rectilinear matrix of sixteen square units of twenty-five tubes each (anchored in bees wax and pigment). Symmetry and symmetry breaking abound here (which is nothing unusual) and the city that we are looking down upon may be seen as a dreamscape or an actual metropolitan area, or both.


Hiding in plain sight, a circle of hard drives serves as the work’s main structural device. All of the work’s objects had been stained before their assemblage, the stain in question being created from textured fibered roofing compound (i.e., synthetic tar) diluted with mineral spirits. The patina seems to simultaneously locate the work in an antique daguerreotype past as well as a post-apocalyptic future, depending on one’s mood.


The ten thousand square inches of Troubled Sleep in Palo Alto is generally good for putting a smile on one’s face. Integrating a sizeable inventory of materials, the work incorporates everything from the artist’s aunt’s beloved IBM Selectric typewriter to his father’s pre-WWII meat-grinder (to say nothing of the equally beloved beer keg pump). The piece also gives very esoteric nods to, among others, the painter Piet Mondrian and the physicist Paul Dirac.


Born In Buffalo, New York, John Zaklikowski has exhibited widely in the Bay Area. He was awarded a Peter S. Reed Foundation Grant in 2012 and a six-week residency at the Hermitage Artists Retreat in Englewood, Florida in 2013. In January 2014 he was Artist-in-Residence at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Zaklikowski was the featured artist in the June 2010 issue of Symmetry Magazine, a joint publication of the SLAC National Laboratory and Fermilab, and his large-scale assemblage Stanford Vacuum Chamber is to be installed in the new auditorium at SLAC this year. His work has also appeared in Make magazine, LHC Italia, Fermilab Today, and Art Takes Times Square, as well as on numerous websites and blogs. His studio is in the Mission district of San Francisco. This is his third solo exhibition at Dogpatch Gallery.

Troubled Sleep in Palo AltoJohn Zaklikowski