Penned in England by Bridget Ardley in 1975, The Austerity Cookbook was a practical piece of work filled with no-nonsense tips and recipes reminiscent of previous hardship-filled eras—World War II being a major example—when people had to make do with limited resources, perhaps even reaching a point where family heirlooms would gladly be swapped for a sack of potatoes. Though most of us (hopefully) aren't at this juncture yet, the Soap Factory's latest exhibit explores themes of keeping the chin up, embracing the apocalypse, and even thriving during difficult periods. This group show will feature 11 artists with wildly varying tones to their work. Wendy DesChene's paintings flow in swirls of pink and orange, fragmented portions suggesting a disconnect from start to finish, but a continuation overall. Brett Smith's model barricade simultaneously suggests destruction and preservation. Alison Owen's dust-stenciled wallpaper creates a homey comfort amid economic limitations. These are but a few pieces that connect change and strife with grains of hope, beginnings, survival, and reconstruction. Perhaps adversity can actually spark creativity? The opening reception is from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, September 5, and there will be a related poetry reading at 8 p.m. Friday, October 9.
Sept. 5-Oct. 25, 2009