Jay Gabler

  • Ken Gonzalez-Day, Nightfall I, 2007, C-print, 36 x 46". From the series “Searching for California Hang Trees,” 2002–14.
    picks February 27, 2017

    Ken Gonzales-Day

    For more than a decade, Ken Gonzales-Day has been exploring the history of racialized violence in America, creating several bodies of work that are brought together for the first time in this exhibition. Cumulatively, his work is a powerful and complex statement that challenges what we thought we knew about this country’s great dilemma. The Los Angeles–based artist has extensively researched lynchings in California, where Mexican Americans and Asian Americans were widely targeted during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This work resulted in a nonfiction book—Lynching in the

  • Sarah Staton, SupaStore Air, 2016, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks November 27, 2016

    Martha Rosler and Sarah Staton

    This exhibition comprises new iterations of two long-standing projects that take complementary looks at commerce, identity, and shared space in the age of globalization. Both projects initially functioned as critiques, but at this political moment, viewers may suddenly find themselves acutely nostalgic for a time when establishing a shared currency and visual language—as opposed to building walls and retreating behind borders—was seen as a good thing.
    Martha Rosler began her ongoing “In the Place of the Public: Airport Series” in 1983, photographing airports as she traveled around the world.

  • View of Carolina Borja: “Transplanting Cityscapes,” 2016.
    picks September 12, 2016

    Carolina Borja

    In Carolina Borja’s debut solo exhibition, “Transplanting Cityscapes,” there are plants both real and artificial—and it’s not always immediately apparent which are genuine. Even the living ones are planted in artificial conditions, as in Verdimovitl (all works 2016), where snake plants grow from plastic pots that still bear price tags and store labels. All the greenery, organic and man-made, seems equally at home.

    The boundary between natural and constructed is fluid throughout the show, which comprises eight multimedia pieces evenly arranged around the perimeter of the gallery. Other examples

  • View of “Covered in Time and History: The Films of Ana Mendieta,” 2015.
    picks October 08, 2015

    Ana Mendieta

    The first dedicated to the films of Ana Mendieta in the US, this show collects twenty-one of the artist’s approximately one hundred films, along with twenty-six related photographs. Curators Lynn Lukkas and Howard Oransky have divided the gallery into six discrete spaces, with the films grouped thematically and presented on a scale that echoes the projection size Mendieta originally used—roughly, the size of her body, which increasingly became the focus of her practice.

    The first, and largest, room features seven of Mendieta’s films exploring the juxtaposition of her silhouette against the

  • Kelly O’Brien, Metallic Aggression, 2014, spandex, duct tape, latex, glitter, spray, oil paint, 65 x 81 x 7".
    picks June 26, 2015

    Kelly O’Brien

    While Kelly O’Brien aims to achieve a frisson by integrating oil portraits of cats with minimalist sculpture in her show “Kulture High,” the exhibition’s real pleasure comes less from that unexpected pairing than from O’Brien’s exuberant use of her materials and her confident sense of design. With fifteen recently made pieces comprising this installation that occupies a single long gallery of the newly relocated Soo Visual Arts Center, the Minneapolis-based artist’s primary palette here involves shades you might find in a pack of highlighters: bright yellow, pink, and orange. The traditional

  • Louise Erdrich, Blue Woman, 2015, mixed media, found objects, 76 1/2 x 17 x 6".
    picks April 08, 2015

    Louise Erdrich

    This exhibition, titled “Asynchronous Reading,” provides a fascinating view of an established writer extending her practice by way of a multimedia installation. The show is a collaboration between Louise Erdrich, her sister Heid E. Erdrich, and daughters Aza Erdrich and Pallas Erdrich, but in the end, it’s Louise’s work that is most prominent in the large front gallery and smaller back space.

    The show is loosely framed as an investigation of elusive stories. What might be a detective’s desk sitting just inside the door of the gallery, outfitted as it is with a typewriter and other items including

  • Julie Buffalohead, Tea Party Day Three, 2008, mixed media on paper, 20 x 30".
    picks January 24, 2015

    Julie Buffalohead

    Each painting or drawing by Julie Buffalohead could be an illustration from a storybook, one that might read as a wry parable about the intersection of American Indian and European cultures. Buffalohead’s first major museum exhibition offers an opportunity to follow this story as it’s developed over the past twelve years of her career.

    All of the work on display here depicts animals—most often coyotes, foxes, deer, rabbits, and owls, though a menagerie of other creatures, including humans, also appear. In Buffalohead’s works on paper, over half of the total pieces in the show, these characters

  • Mitchell Syrop, Large Grid, F (Midway Version), 1974–, laser print on board, monofilament, lead anchors, aluminum, 143”  x 323” x 1”.
    picks October 09, 2014

    Mitchell Syrop

    Juxtapositions are at the heart of Mitchell Syrop’s practice, and this exhibition accordingly presents two distinct yet interrelated bodies of work that could serve as a compact introduction to this veteran Conceptual artist. Two floor-to-ceiling installations of vintage high school yearbook photos—each photo enlarged to eight by ten inches—face off in one gallery.Large Grid, M (Midway Version) and Large Grid, F (Midway Version), both 1974–, are the most recent manifestations of an ongoing project, previously shown in several iterations, wherein both the photos and their configurations change

  • Scott Nedrelow, Untitled (Afterlight) 9, 2014, Epson Ultrachrome K3 ink, photo paper, 92 1/2 x 60 1/2”.
    picks March 25, 2014

    Scott Nedrelow

    Upon first entering the gallery, one might be quick to assume that the exhibition hasn’t been installed yet. Minneapolis-based Scott Nedrelow’s large paintings consist of such subtle blurs of color against white photo paper that they evoke surfaces where something has once been and is now gone, leaving only a trace of its rubbings.

    Nedrelow’s show, titled “Afterlight,” consists of the series “Untitled (Afterlight),” 2014—six numbered paintings located in the main gallery—and a two-channel video installation tucked into a small back room. Achieved by airbrushing Epson printer ink onto photo paper,

  • Jess Hirsch, Reikiwave, 2013, microwave, pegboard, popcorn, dimensions variable.
    picks October 05, 2013

    “, , ,”

    The Soap Factory’s Minnesota biennials function less as sweeping state-of-the-arts surveys than as excuses to highlight work in a range of contemporary practices by artists from across the state. The third biennial—curated by John Marks and David Petersen, former coproprietors of the engaging gallery Art of This—has been titled with just three commas.

    The curators’ focus on inclusivity is most evident in the space’s first gallery, where twenty-seven artists representing various disciplines were invited by Emily Gastineau to participate in her piece Art is Easy in 2014, 2013. These artists use a

  • Sarah Crowner, Ciseaux Rideaux, 2012, oil and gouache on canvas, fabric, and linen, 60 x 44 x 2”.
    picks March 14, 2013

    “Painter Painter”

    Modesty is not a word commonly associated with the history of abstraction, but in this exhibition, curators Eric Crosby and Bartholomew Ryan have gathered work by a group of up-and-coming artists—nearly all born in the 1970s—who largely eschew grand gestures, illuminating their own painterly processes in a manner so humble that it sometimes borders on self-deprecation. In Charles Mayton’s diptych Blind Ventriloquist, 2012, for example, a rough roller-made painting is paired with a more delicately painted canvas that’s almost entirely obscured by a stained rag and a silkscreened image of the

  • View of “Why we do this,” 2012.
    picks September 23, 2012

    Andy DuCett

    Though Andy DuCett considers “Why we do this” to be an expansion of his established drawing practice, the actual effect of the immersive installation here is more akin to that of a film than a drawing. Visitors walking through the sprawling exhibition—which takes up the entirety of the Soap Factory’s twelve thousand square feet—might recall the scenes in screenwriter Charlie Kaufman’s Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind where characters move through memories as though they were physical space, with childhood torments incongruously adjacent to adult workplaces and erotic