Liquefaction, the geological term for the way soft soil turns to mush during an earthquake, seems oddly compatible with the making of gelatin, a homely, if colorful dessert that’s primarily composed of water. Which is why there is something pertinent and unexpectedly poetic to Liz Hickok’s photographs of a scale-model San Francisco rendered in the translucent primary colors of Jell-O®. Part sculpture, part photography and video, her project resonates beyond the immediate appeal of the rainbow colors to become a sublime form of landscape. Her version of the city, which stems from a long-standing interest in three-dimensional city maps, emits a different kind of luminosity than the late 19th century Hudson River Valley variety. Refracted light through gelatin, it so happens, resembles semi-precious stones.

There’s a delightful irony to creating architectural landmarks and government buildings in a jiggly material most equated with hospital cafeterias. The novelty of the sculptural medium – Hickok casts her urban visions from molds she constructs herself based on idealized postcard images and her own photographs – has a way of making her vision go down smoothly. And when she makes her city shake, as in her short video work, the landscape comes alive with the power of nature and culture on the brink of transformation. Hickok spikes her Jell-O shots with a bracing dash of real life, giving her kaleidoscopic imagery a potent kick.