A solo exhibition by BEVERLY FRESH
Pavillon am Milchhof, Berlin, Germany (2014)

“Take the Back Roads and Collect Myself,” is a multi-media solo exhibition consisting of drawings, paintings, signage, posters, video, sculpture, installation and live performance.

The videos included in this exhibition are taken from phase one of Beverly Fresh’s “Outskirts” series, which took place in eleven towns in rural Illinois and Michigan. “Outskirts” utilizes performance as a means of inquiry, combining documentation, intervention and fabrication to examine how collective meaning is produced, consumed and shared throughout the rural Midwest.

Emphasizing the significance that oral tradition has in shaping and sharing cultural meaning, the performances combine song, dramatic narrative, and jokes. The work in this exhibition draws from a stylized autobiographical viewpoint that ranges from innocence to irreverence and builds upon the tradition of the trickster navigating a journey that could be read as a postmodern tale of the picaresque. Spanning a variety of media, the work critically inquires into the extracurricular activities and places that define the physical and psychological landscape of the peripheral Midwest.

Beverly Fresh states, "the title of the exhibition comes from something said by a young father who goes by the nickname Moose. Currently estranged from his family, Moose is living at the roadside motel where I stayed during the Outskirts tour. Growing up in the rural Midwest and returning now to the outskirts for this project, I feel that there is a sense of restless desperation surrounding this region, and the one area in particular that allows something to happen is down the back roads. They are a way to escape and stay off the radar, to dodge the police, to make out, to fight, to party and most importantly, as Moose puts its to collect yourself.”

Presented in a foreign country, this exhibition is reminiscent of a roadside attraction. The urban pavilion hosts an aesthetic remixing of Americana, like an oddity encountered on the back roads. TBRCM presents a stylized portrait of the rural Midwest by combining traditional documentation, local folklore and fabricated narrative, resulting in both a recognizable impression and an entirely new understanding of the region.

This project is supported by the University Research Council of DePaul University and partially supported by an Individual Artist Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.