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Torbert and Magritte

Doorways, according to photographer Stephanie Torbert, open into spaces both real and imagined. In this untitled photograph she has nicknamed “Self-Service Sky,” the reflection in the door suggests a question about what is really behind the door. There are no details about the specific place and time. Here is just enough information to keep you guessing about what’s real and what isn’t.

Remember in the film version The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy’s house lands in Oz? She opens the door of her black-and-white Kansas home and steps out into the full-color world of Oz. The transformation takes place when Dorothy opens the door. Stephanie Torbert isn’t so interested in the full-color world of Oz as she is in checking out that door.

“The sky is through the door and it’s refrigerated,” says Torbert, “preserved perfectly blue with clouds. There is something about the idea of ‘self-service sky’ that I love because it is kind of whimsical. It could be the worst gray day in the world and you could just open this door and serve yourself and out would come this wonderful blue sky with white clouds.”

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Minneapolis Institute of Arts