Participating artists: Shana Berger & Nathan Purath, Patrick Gantert, Leif Huron,Steven Lang, Ellen Mueller, Mark Pease, Kenneth Steinbach, Tetsuya Yamada
All the work proposed for this show approaches ways of understanding 'America' and the 'American Experience' - perhaps even my own personal experience as an immigrant - through work that directly examines the political aspects of various forms of American society, work that mirrors the transformation of culture through the lens of 'America', or more open poetic re-orgnisations of 'American' tropes. The Soap Factory itself, a 130 year old relic of the conquest, subjugation and industrialization of a continent, is an artifact of the nostalgia, evoked by ‘Americana’, so it is entirely appropriate that its decayed architecture be a setting, a container, for such ideas.
The Soap Factory is a spectacular space; in that its setting enhances the viewers experience, sometimes, if we are not careful, at the expense of the art itself. We have three pre-existing large-scale video pieces, as well as photographic project, working with three new installations, and one project that is being re-presented in an expanded form for this show. This exhibition is intended to encompass both the spectacular and the mundane (often contained within the sample aesthetic package), giving balance to both, and demonstrating the breath of artistic enquiry that we receive as submissions each year.
- Ben Heywood, curator and Executive Director