Take A Joke, And Enjoy A Drink
Gregory Bae, Troy Briggs, Rashayla Marie Brown, Matt Morris

Curated by Tony Lewis. A collaboration between Bellwether and MOCA Cleveland.

September 3 – September 13, 2015

1555 East 40th St.| Entrance on Cooper St.

Opening Reception: Thursday, September 3, 6-9pm
The artists will give remarks at 7pm.

The exhibition will be on view from 12-5pm:

Saturday, 9/5
Sunday, 9/6
Saturday, 9/12
Sunday, 9/13

There are art educators with an intense dedication to a studio practice, which equals the commitment they have to their students. After all, one can’t deny the ethical imperative of education inherent in the production, analysis, and theater of art. In these and other stages of a work of art’s life there is a constant building up and breaking down; continuous learning and unlearning; a consistent becoming which mirrors the maker, and reflects itself as the viewer sees. This is the kind of mind that invests in the shaping of younger minds unaware of how self-aware they will become.

There are artists with loud, contradictory voices, and bigger ideas, which challenge their immediate environment; artists with a relationship to a particular material, which causes you to redefine the material, artists who are affirmed by belief, and not dissuaded by it. They make things that are as big as the world, and simultaneously as small as a light bulb. Their art offers the opportunity to participate in the seemingly self-sustaining folly that is generosity. It is also hate, anger, and anguish. Self-doubt is as strong as any color, and the tension between the two is where we play.

There are also friends who can take a joke and enjoy a drink. This exhibition brings together artists and friends from Chicago traveling to Cleveland and back. I look to these artists for their brilliance, generosity, commitment, and energy for what they do everyday: the self-examination of the mind as an artist, to challenge each other, and those around them; as well as their capacity for friendship. It’s because of this willingness to work together no matter how agonistic it may become, that we can keep the solipsistic anxiety of making art in check. To work hard in thought through (and with) collective minds is as critical as making the work alone, as valuable as absurdity, and for many artists, it is the material.

Tony Lewis

With support from Thomas Frontini and Paula Izydorek

Artist Biographies:

Gregory Bae was born in Salt Lake City in 1986. His childhood was spent growing up intermittently between the United States and South Korea. His father is a scientist, his mother a staunch Catholic, and his brother recently received his Ph.D in philosophy. He studied Painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Bae has taught at the Fred Dolan Art Academy in the Bronx, New York, as well as the Hyde Park Art Center and Marwen, both in Chicago. He is a recipient of a City of Chicago DCASE Individual Artist Program grant, an Emergency Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and most recently, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. He has lived and worked in Providence, RI; New York City; Spartanburg, SC; and is currently based in Chicago but has just returned from 19 months of residency in South Korea. Gregory Bae’s homecoming solo exhibition “Orients” is on view at the Chicago Urban Art Society through September 19th.

Troy Briggs is an artist living and working in Chicago. He received a MFA from the Fiber and Material Studies department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BFA in Sculpture and Painting from Colorado State University. He Currently teaches in the Contemporary Practices department at the School of the Art institute of Chicago. As an intermedia artist his work varies widely in media; most recently he has created an alternative space inside of an alternative space, made a light bulb that flashes out secrets in Morse code, spent a year teaching his canary a Frank Sinatra song and is currently working on a machine that translates the winds movement into words.

A lifelong nomad who has moved 24 times, artist/scholar Rashayla Marie Brown manages a living studio practice across an extensive list of cultural production modes. Exploiting the role of the artist as both an agent and an object of desire, her work spans photographic and video-based image-making; performance and social engagement/disruption; curation and installation; and theoretical writings infused with autobiography, subjectivity, and spirituality. Her journey as a professional artist began as a radio DJ performing research in London, England and as founder of the family-owned design company Selah Vibe, Inc. in Atlanta, GA. Brown currently serves as the inaugural Director of Student Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), fostering queer Afrofeminist narratives across institutions. Brown holds a BA in Sociology and African-American Studies from Yale University, advised by Paul Gilroy, and a BFA from SAIC, advised by Barbara DeGenevieve. Her work has been commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; University of Chicago; and Yale University; among others. Her work has also been featured at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, IL; Calumet Gallery, New York, NY; Center for Sex and Culture, San Francisco, CA; Centro Cultural Costaricense Norteamericano, San Jose, Costa Rica; and other venues. She has received numerous awards, including the Anna Louise Raymond Fellowship, Chicago Artist Coalition’s BOLT Residency, the Propeller Fund, and the Yale Mellon Research Grant.

Matt Morris is an artist, writer, and sometimes curator based in Chicago. He has presented artwork at Queer Thoughts, peregrineprogram, The Bike Room, Gallery 400, Sector 2337, and The Franklin in Chicago, IL; Fjord and Vox Populi in Philadelphia, PA; The Contemporary Arts Center, U·turn Art Space, Aisle, and semantics in Cincinnati, OH; Clough-Hanson Gallery and Beige in Memphis, TN; with additional projects in Reims, France; Greencastle, IN; Lincoln, NE; and Baton Rouge, LA. Morris is a transplant from southern Louisiana who holds a BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and earned an MFA in Art Theory + Practice from Northwestern University, as well as a Certificate in Gender + Sexuality Studies. Recent curatorial efforts have been presented at Western Exhibitions and The Hills Esthetic Center in Chicago, IL. He is a lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago who teaches in the Sculpture as well as the Painting and Drawing departments. He is a contributor to, Art Papers, Flash Art, Newcity, and Sculpture; and his writing appears in numerous exhibition catalogues and artist monographs.