In Robin Mandel's "Everywhere and Nowhere" at Laconia Gallery (433 Harrison Ave, Boston, through January 29), spotlights shine through metal stencils to project blobs onto five of the six-sided gallery's walls. Small, flat, mirrored arrows stuck into the walls cast black shadow arrows into the light blobs and reflect gray arrows around the perimeters. Together it looks like a series of islands or amoebas with their edges obsessively marked inside and out by arrows — like an overzealously annotated Google map. The arrows insist that you look here and here and here, but frustratingly don't really point out much of anything. The Cushing, Maine, artist's real aim — and where his talent lies — is to use simple machines to create sensational auroras of light or conjure memories.

Read Greg Cook's blog at  gregcookland.com/journal.

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