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"A lot of my early work… was about what I call the surrealism of every day life."

A lot of my work has doors in it, or the suggestion of doors. We all open the same door many times over and over and each time we open it new light comes in, different air, a fresh experience, an old experience slips out and gets loose in the room.

– Stephanie Torbert

“Something I have worked with a lot in many of my images is cutting out extra material to lead you to believe something that may or may not be true,” says Stephanie Torbert. Are we outside looking through an entryway? Are we inside an entryway looking through a doorway? Torbert leaves the information we need to answer these questions out of the frame of the photograph.

The red bands of neon that perfectly frame the numbers painted on the window also function as a puzzle–they appear to pierce the wooden frame around the window and continue their path inside. Or is it their reflection that we see on the glass? “Outside in, or inside out?” Torbert seems to ask in many of the photographs she made at the end of the 1960s. “A lot of my early work, especially the reflections, was about what I call the surrealism of everyday life,” she explains, “picking out the strangeness in the world we live in. Those doors are doors that could lead you to other worlds, or what is behind what is in front of you.”

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Minneapolis Institute of Arts