About the Exhibition
The world on the street behaves in predictable ways: the grid of city blocks, the buildings, the pathways of activity. Suppose a storefront confounds its sense of space and multiplies like an illusion...The repetition of the storefront sabotages its inherent function, since it contains only images of itself. No access will be gained, only infinite potential." —Beth Campbell
Potential Store Fronts, Beth Campbell's new project for the Public Art Fund program In the Public Realm, transforms a casual peek into a store window into an unexpected visual revelation. Situated in a corporate building on Maiden Lane in Lower Manhattan, Campbell's installation resembles the type of variety store found in neighborhoods all over the city, where a wide assortment of products and services are sold in a single store—from tailoring to psychic readings to lottery tickets. But, in an extraordinary turn, Campbell's storefront repeats itself over and over, receding back into space. While it resembles the experience of standing before an infinity mirror, this startling effect is made all the more uncanny by the fact that it is actual rather than illusory—the storefront truly is replicated several times, with absolute fidelity to detail.
In her meticulous repetition of an otherwise happenstance or banal scenario, Campbell (b. 1971, IL) draws attention to the everyday clutter of life that one typically overlooks. The scene also suggests a perceptual ripple in one's physical or psychological space, a recurring theme in Campbell's widely diverse body of work, which also includes drawing, watercolor, photography and video. In her series of text drawings, "My Potential Future Based on Present Circumstances," Campbell has portrayed instances in which a person stands at the precipice of a life decision—however trivial or momentous—that leads to a cacophonous flowchart of possible outcomes. In Potential Store Fronts, Campbell continues her investigation into the relationships between self-awareness, actuality, illusion, choice, repetition, and change.