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The Mattress Factory is an artist-centered museum, international residency program and renowned producer and presenter of installation art. We say “yes” to artists, offering time and space to dream and realize projects in our hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. We invite audiences from around the world and around the corner to step inside, immerse and connect with the artistic process.

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Stephen Davis

Plato's Inn - Zeus Suite


This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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Black and white shapes are arranged along two long walls of the gallery space, clustered tightly in the beginning and more loosely arranged as you proceed. Sometimes these patterns are referenced elsewhere in the space. For example, a star is painted on one wall and another has been cut from the floor. The latter provides a view of the basement, which is illuminated with red light.

Everything in the installation is either black or white with the exception of blue and green mattresses and upturned terra-cotta pots, which support the mattress piles like the legs of bed frames. A red glow on the ceiling at the rear of the installation is actually a reflection from an unseen panel coated with red fluorescent paint.

Artist Statement

Every room harbors a potential ritual. As one works and moves in a room, some of the forces and patterns of energy in that room become available to the participant. This accumulation of these forces begins to take shape and form, culminating in an image. The viewer enters the conversation between the work and the room.


Stephen Davis: October 20, 1990 - January 20, 1991
About The Artist

Stephen Davis works in Galisteo, NM, and Pecos, TX. Since 1971 he has persistently taken the elements and language of painting apart and put them together again to find a new structure for his painting. For this he has been awarded three National Endowment for the Arts grants, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Pollock-Krasner, Joan Mitchell, George Sugarman, and two Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation grants. His work is in the collections of LAMOCA, the San Francisco Museum of Art, UC Berkeley Art Museum, the El Paso Museum of Art, and others. He received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2015.

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