Inner and Outer Space conceptually describes the Mattress Factory itself--an arts institution that is constantly pushing beyond its own walls; inhabiting and exhibiting in multiple buildings and well beyond. Their motto is aptly "art you can get into." There is art all over. Art in all media: permanent and temporary, here and there. The Mattress Factory is hardly a traditional "white cube" exhibition space since the museum functions like a factory, housing and feeding the artists who produce the diverse range of works in this and every show.
For the nine artists in Inner and Outer Space, the physical building is addressed as a malleable form. Works are suspended out the windows; windowpanes--the mediator of our inside and outside worlds--are put to work to help realize some pieces. Works continue between gallery walls and floors, and to the outside. The installations defy the two-dimensional surfaces of each gallery by penetrating the walls and floors, offering new perceptions of "actual" space--rupturing notions of "here" and "now." Collectively, these artists' works employ a great variety of materials, from hand-made crafts to fiber optics, from painting to electronic projection, from simple string to advance robotics.
Additionally, as part of their artistic practice to push beyond the museum context, the artists formed collaborations with local artisans, scientists, fabricators, fashion models, and other Pittsburghers to share and implement their ideas and chose additional sites to engage with their work.
While working in a wide range of media and strategies, the artists share some concerns and investigations. Their work asks where we are and where we are going--both philosophically and physically. There is social commentary in much of the work, where the current state of our world geographically and politically is brought to light. Some installations challenge our sense of perception and notions of reality. There is an attempt to touch the sublime, to move beyond what is possible, to articulate a sense of wonder, and make a human connection in these ambitious works.
--Dara Meyers-Kingsley, Independent Curator