Article

Craig Olson reviews "superusted," the Soap Factory's fourth Midwest Biennial, curated this time by Cheryl Wilgren Clyne and which brings together work from 17 artists selected after more than 100 studio visits in the region.
October 14, 2015

Installation by John Fleischer, part of superusted at the Soap Factory. Photo: Cheryl Wilgren Clyne

Herons in the tideflats
             Have no thought for
States of Cars
             —I’m sick of car exhaust

Gary Snyder, from Night Highway 99

Everything that breathes is hungry, and rust never sleeps. This is the larger vista. It is where we can step outside of our delusions, rising like a heron out of the pain and suffering over what we’ve done to the natural world. It is a view that, despite our guilt and self-blame, acknowledges the simultaneous hurt and beauty of this complexly interrelated planet. Instead of turning us away, it calls us to practice.

That is exactly what is on display in superusted (pronounced super-rusted) the Soap Factory’s fourth Midwest biennial. We are given an opportunity to see the efforts and practice of 17 artists from five states across the Midwest — Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Curated by Cheryl Wilgren Clyne after a series of over 100 studio visits (no small feat), this diverse grouping includes both artists with established reputations and some fresh out of school. To her credit, Wilgren Clyne states in the press release, “There may be a series of conceptual threads that run throughout the works: perhaps each informs the other? Rather than overstate what that might be, the intent is to allow the viewer to find their own themes.” This is a generous and welcome perspective. Wilgren Clyne is an artist herself, something more and more rare in a curator. Curatorial studies now seems to be a field increasingly polluted with didactic pretensions and interior design sensibilities, practiced by effete academics who couldn’t find a hammer in a bag of nails, let alone use it. Perhaps that’s why this exhibition, which goes against the grain of those conceits, has such an immediate and tactile sensibility.

The Soap Factory in Minneapolis, a 134 year-old wood and brick warehouse turned alternative arts space, is the perfect setting for such a tactile sensibility. The character of the building permeates the exhibition, with its corrosion, raw bricks, cement, and steel; the history of an industrial past is never out of sight or mind. It runs a parallel thread to the artwork it houses, extending a metaphor reflected throughout the exhibition — the inevitability of deterioration and the challenges of living and creating in an increasingly defiled world. As many of the artworks make clear, their chief weapons against these forces are imagination and daring and, together, they create a space within a space, encapsulated by diverse styles of being and doing.

Dyani White Hawk (detail). Photo: Cheryl Wilgren Clyne

An artist who is no stranger to these difficult forces is Dyani White Hawk Polk. With her painting Connections (2015), she offers some necessary medicine for traversing the tangled mess of here and now. It hangs in the first gallery of the building, adjacent to an opening that leads deeper into the rest of the exhibition. This architectural reality is echoed in the image itself: a painting of two moccasins (a regular theme in the artists work), side-by-side and slightly overlapping, the left red and white, the right blue and white. Each moccasin contains a painted opening, as if the material of the shoe were itself rolled back, revealing a deep umber void. Above each void the artist has adorned the canvas with traditional symbols done skillfully in beads and thread sewn directly onto the canvas. The left, red moccasin contains two crosses, while the right, blue moccasin contains two double crosses, or the traditional Lakota symbol of the dragonfly. To enter these voids, to step into the shoes, is to enter an image of artistic vitality. It is vitality fed by movement and cyclical changes offering protection from the vulnerabilities of time and obsolescence.

Carlos DeGroot (details), installation view. Photos: Chery Wilgren Clyne

To be sure, we are vulnerable. The biological health of the planet is in trouble. Many larger animals are in danger of becoming extinct. Dentists kill lions in Africa in order to live out their personal fantasies of power and control. Meanwhile, entire ecosystems of little living creatures are being eliminated. Wisconsin artist Carlos DeGroot’s sculpture, Untitled (2015), is a compelling assemblage that awkwardly rises out of the gloom surrounding these issues. A thin, ungainly wooden scaffold ultimately supports a large plastic sack filled with mulch; a small humidifier on the ground is connected to the plastic sack via a long tube, feeding the microclimate with moisture. Small, green, living buds of plants are sprouting within: an animate system of futility and decay, generation and corruption. It is use made literal — value reworked, translating metaphor into the life of a body, into insight and engagement.

Inversely, far in the back of the exhibition are 13 small images by Alexa Horochowski that translate use into virtual value. Each is a small sheet of metal laid out on a long wooden shelf. On the surface of each metal sheet is what appears to be spontaneous yet deliberate scratching. Non-objective and mysterious, they seem as if handmade with intense concentration and effort, but they’re actually ink-jet prints. The images you see aren’t scratched into the surface of the material at all, but rather are made by the application of a computer-generated design to a metal sheet. They are, in that sense, virtually handmade. Nonetheless intriguing, these virtual images reconcile the sort of living we now do with hampered forces: physical, tactile activity curtailed and lamed under the bells and whistles of new media. The image of activity we see in her work is separated from its inner force, its wildness, and so turned from living force into virtual activity, an image conceived as an exercise in propriety. An apt metaphor for our times.

Alexa Horochowski (details), installation view. Photos: Cheryl Wilgren Clyne

There are many artists in this exhibition whom I haven’t mentioned, but don’t count on me to expound. As the curator explains, “the intent is to allow the viewer to find their own themes.” You should see this exhibition and feel your way through. There is something stirring around within it that feels necessary and relevant. In a strange and  serendipitous way, the artworks here demonstrate the complexities of interconnectedness in all its tangled contradictions. Remove one element and the whole exhibition may fall apart.

Together, the artworks don’t speak to the single-vision notion of everything as “one.” Instead, they demonstrate the “many” as authentic, each helping to illuminate the others. As Marie Louise Van Franz stated, “the biggest mistake you can make is to assume everyone is just like you.” It’s with a larger view that we can see the relentless onslaught of time, that ultimate innovator who holds all our destinies in its grip.

superusted, installation view. Photo: Cheryl Wilgren Clyne

Related exhibition information:

superusted the fourth Midwest Biennial is on view at The Soap Factory through November 8. There is an artist talk scheduled in the gallery, featuring conversations with five featured artists, on October 20, 6 pm.

Craig Olson is an artist and writer living in Minnesota.

Comments

jiya:

This is a very good article.click here

jiya:

Thank you for sharing this interesting article written by Craig Olsan. I viewed all the photos that are shared in this article which gives a complete view about ‘Superusted’ the soap factories. The article is well written and photos are good.

manufacturer refurbished tablets
 

angelamaria:

I have heard a lot about this exhibition but I missed the opportunity to go for this. While reading your post, I came to see various items which you had presented in this exhibition. I got interested on this topic and would like to know more on this. elmer t lee

johnscornor:

It at once attracted me because I am a passionate blog reader and much enjoying your stuff definitely recommend this website to everyone.  And also approaching to the peoples for sharing this page to them who are really passionate reader like me. Thanks  best dental clinic in Appleton

johnscornor:

Big thumbs for making amazing blog. This is the best site. Actually this was an awesome blog post. You have a very inspiring way of exploring and sharing your thoughts. I enjoyed reading your stuff. Thank you !!

Thecollectivesedona.com/home/things-to-do-in-sedona

johnscornor:

I really enjoyed reading your stuff. I would gladly suggest this website to someone regard for these type of stuff. This is the best site. Thanks for sharing this valuable information and keep posting more.

<a href="http://www.goodsamdental.org">Affordable Dentist in Tijuana MX</a>

johnscornor:

As a beginner it is a perfect platform your blogs really helps to understand me in a much easier way i regular participate on your website. My Ticas

johncloe458:

Its a great pleasure reading your stuff. This is the best site, here i found some knowledge able stuff which is very easy to understand. Keep posting stuff like this. I would like to thank for the efforts you have made in writing this post.

Visit here

johnscornor:

I am first time here; this is very nice and gives in depth information. I will definitely come back to more times in this year for submit more post. Keep trying to make best. Thanks for approving.

Infoplicity

johnscornor:

I think this blog is one of the best platforms to get updated with the latest information. This is such an extraordinary asset; I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your points and have come to the conclusion that you are right about many of them. You are great.

Nursehub

johnscornor:

I feel it necessary to write a review of this website which I have been a regular visitor of your website for many years.  I would gladly recommend this website to someone looking for these kinds of stuff. Thank You!!

Visit Our Website

johnscornor:

I wanted to comment & say that I enjoyed reading your posts & they are all very well written out and like to keep on visiting this site once again. I found it very interesting things in this post. I must say a very well written and informative post and really appreciate your effort. Thanks a lot

Smog Check Near Me

johnscornor:

I am an experienced web developer in Splendor Design Group and also an intense web reader. Whenever I am getting bored, I would like to reading stuff on web. Thanks for sharing this excellent information and keep posting more.

Visit Our Website

Robinjack:

the point that you are giving and you give it away for nothing. I cherish seeing blog that comprehend the benefit of giving a quality asset to free.  Dirty Questions to Ask a Guy

johnscornor:

Excellent and very exciting stuff. All the contents you mentioned in post are too good and can be very useful. Surely preferred to the other peoples for reading. Thanks & keep writing.

Visit Our Website

hjkl:

Thanks for sharing this useful info..check pf balance

hjkl:

Positive site. where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now. and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work.

iOS 11.2 Download

hjkl:

Thanks for the blog loaded with so many information. Stopping by your blog helped me to get what I was looking for.

iOS 11.2 Jailbreak

johnscornor:

Very interesting article, actually i was looking a website like this; It was nice to land on this website post and to see such superb stuff.  I have bookmarked it and I will be back for read new blog articles. Thanks for taking the time to share this. 
Attorneykennugent.com

Robinjack:

Much obliged to you for some other instructive site. The spot else might just I get that sort of data written in such a flawless strategy? I have an endeavor that I am basically now running on, and I've been at the look out for such information. 
escorts in beirut

johnscornor:

This is an extraordinary article it looks so fresh and genuine it does really boost me genius writing i would love to read your new post i am damn sure it would be more interesting.
1Yonge Street  Development

johnscornor:

Well, this is my first visit to your blog! I am very impressed by the way you share awesome and precious content. Thanks for sharing this great blog and keep writing. 

ladies kurti

Robinjack:

I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business.
Guilt Free Desserts

hjkl:

This was a really great contest and hopefully I can attend the next one. It was alot of fun and I really enjoyed myself..

Rinjani Trekking

japan.comp234:

Much obliged to you for the redesign, exceptionally decent site.. 

His Secret Obsession Review

Torres55:

awesome knowing about this fantastic application and hope you Mobdro delight in the videos anytime and also anywhere nice.

johnscornor:

Excellent blog whenever i feel bored i come here and i get so many new things over your blog thanks for sharing your knowledge able stuff I appreciate your blog. I would love to read more. 
downsviewparkcondos.ca

japan.comp234:

It is an incredible site.. The Design looks great.. Continue working like that!. Obsession Phrases

japan.comp234:

It is an incredible site.. The Design looks great.. Continue working like that!. Obsession Phrases

hjkl:

I have been checking out a few of your stories and i can state pretty good stuff. I will definitely bookmark your blog

Download GbWhatsapp Apk Latest Version

johnscornor:

You have an actual capacity for composing remarkable Stuff. I think this stuff is one of the best platforms to get updated with the latest information. Thanks & keep writing.

http://virginhairfixx.com

johncloe458:

A very awesome blog post. Feel pleased from this knowledgeable information. I am very impressed by the way you share awesome and precious content. Thanks and keep writing.

Text Loans uk

johncloe458:

A very awesome blog post. Feel pleased from this knowledgeable information. I am very impressed by the way you share awesome and precious content. Thanks and keep writing.

instant text loans no brokers

remaxabsolute:

Thumps up for your knowledge able stuff for enhance the knowledge glad to come here this is an amazing to read your blog looking forward. 
Ottawa homes for sale

kidneycare:

Such a nice and wonderful comment, I really appreciate.

Polycystic Kidney Disease Treatment In Ayurveda

johncloe458:

Thumps up for your knowledgeable stuff for increase the knowledge pleased to come here this are an stunning to read your stuff looking forward.

http://loanstxt.co.uk/

johncloe458:

Thumps up for your knowledgeable stuff for increase the knowledge pleased to come here this are an stunning to read your stuff looking forward.

Text Loans for Bad Credit

kingswayrivercondos:

I feel so fortunate to read your blog it looks really very attractive and very passionate kind of reading stuff. I feel it’s a perfect platform i spend a lot time over your website looking forward. 
Read More

hjkl:

Great post. you have pointed out some excellent points. I as well believe this is a very superb website.

my link

wellwisdom:

Individual who made this post, this was an extremely useful for me. Acknowledges for posting this, I saw a unite else alike notify however yours was the prime so deep, always has really good posts and topics please keep it up!
<a href="http://www.wellwisdom.com/ultimate-grass-fed-whey-protein">Read More:-www.wellwisdom.com/ultimate-grass-fed-whey-protein</a>

wellwisdom:

Individual who made this post, this was an extremely useful for me. Acknowledges for posting this, I saw a unite else alike notify however yours was the prime so deep, always has really good posts and topics please keep it up!

Read More:- Wellwisdom.com/ultimate-grass-fed-whey-protein

japan.comp234:

Very nice article, I enjoyed reading your post, very nice share, I want to twit this to my followers. Thanks!.  local seo company

hjkl:

it was a wonderful chance to visit this kind of site and I am happy to know. thank you so much for giving us a chance to have this opportunity..

ЗАЧЕМ УЧИТЬСЯ в школе

pandacondos:

I was searching a site like this, because I found all information here. Your all articles are amazing and i enjoy to read your all blogs and I would really like to read your new articles.
Read More:- http://pandavip.ca

mcitycondos:

Well, I am so fascinate to come over blog regularly it seems very up-to-date  your blog keep me update it is really hard to keep updates own self in this busy life. Your blog is a way who hence and as well as aware me about new things so keep writing cheers.

http://mcitycondosvips.ca

japan.comp234:

Much obliged to you for peopling get the data they require. Extraordinary stuff of course. Keep up the colossal work!!!   creehack apk for android

Robinjack:

Much obliged to you for some other instructive site. The spot else might just I get that sort of data written in such a flawless strategy? I have an endeavor that I am basically now running on, and I've been at the look out for such information. escorts in beirut

1yongecondos:

When checking out the location the very first point that comes to mind is availability and ease. North York condos lie in the North end of Toronto and also are close to several highways as well as main artery roads that give access to various other components of the city. Condos on 1Yonge Street

wellwisdom:

Well I am regular member of your blog feel so great to come here it gives me so much information about new topics whenever  I come over your blog always get new information keep writing and updates us.
natural whey protein

1yongecondos:

Its an informative and delightful blog I like to read this kind of posts. You have mentioned totally motivational and valuable content.
instant loans bad credit

Pages

MN Artists