This much-anticipated group show is like an artistic jack-in-the-box: You don't know what you'll find inside, but it's bound to be startling. The Soap Factory asked 22 local artists to create experimental works specifically for this show. An intriguing enough premise, but what should make gallery-hoppers all quivery inside is the level of talent that's been assembled—nearly two dozen of Minnesota's liveliest artistic minds. Christopher Baker, for example, creates brilliant conceptual, mixed-media projects, often incorporating the internet or custom software (one piece was a huge wall displaying 3,000 video diaries culled from the web; another was a plush-toy bear that he altered using text-to-speech software so that, when squeezed, it recites live conversations being typed in romance chat rooms on the internet). Christopher Pancoe is a wildly inventive ceramicist who can take animal-themed stoneware and mixed media to surprising places. Megan Vossler is a skilled draftswoman known for her delicate, high-contrast pencil drawings of war scenes, set forlornly on bright expanses of white paper. That's only the beginning, and this show's experimental theme means that all bets are off on what the artists will do next.
Sept. 13-Oct. 26, 2008