McClain Gallery is thrilled to present a two-person exhibition with British painter Christopher Le Brun and American sculptor Brie Ruais. Both artists find commonality in a conceptual approach to materiality that emerges from their direct, physical handling of their mediums. With a foundational basis in gesture, color, surface, and above all, texture, they embrace the inherent qualities of their respective materials while finding new and unexpected ways to transcend genres.
Brie Ruais’ work in the exhibition reflects the breadth of her process-based practice, wherein she uses her body as the only tool to manipulate a mass of clay equal to her body weight. Her physical connection to the process is evident by the works' appearance; hand marks and deep striations meet where footprints end, becoming a map and acting as an extension of a particular place in the way the clay is marked by the press of her body as well as the surface she wedges it into. The movement found in the work corresponds to the movement of the human body, forming a language between the viewer and the piece itself. Found objects pressed into the surface of the wet clay, both natural and manufactured, further develop each piece's story and texture. Her first institutional solo exhibition, Brie Ruais: Movement at the Edge of the Land, curated by Frauke Josenhans, Associate Curator, Moody Center for the Arts, is currently on view at The Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University in Houston, TX.
Christopher Le Brun’s paintings call attention to the color and physicality of mark-making to elicit painting's inherent poetry. Le Brun’s drawing, sculptural, and printmaking practices are apparent throughout his new work through his decision to draw directly onto surfaces with the paint tubes or move the pigment around with a palette knife. This energetic application creates highly worked tactile surfaces that lend depth and spatial complexity to Le Brun’s works. With a reverence for British landscape painting and nature, his paintings seek to reveal truth to the eye through color and invite the viewer to enter a dialogue by means of atmosphere and light.
Brie Ruais (b. 1982, Southern California) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA from Columbia University's School of the Arts in 2011. Her work has been exhibited at public institutions including the Musée d’art de Joliette, Quebec, Canada; the Everson Museum, Syracuse, NY; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Katzen Center at American University, Washington, DC, and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Awards and residencies include The Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant (2018), The Sharpe Walentas Studio Program (2018), the Dieu Donne Fellowship (2016), Montello Foundation Residency (2017), Socrates Sculpture Park Fellowship (2014), The Shandaken Project Residency (2014) among others. Ruais' work is in the collections of the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; the Pizzuti Collection, OH; the Burger Collection Hong Kong, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia. She is featured in Vitamin C: New Perspectives in Contemporary Art, Clay and Ceramics, published by Phaidon (2017).
Christopher Le Brun (b. 1951, Portsmouth, UK) has been a celebrated British artist since the early 1980s; he has also been an instrumental public figure in his role as President of the Royal Academy of Arts in London from 2011 to 2019. His work is in many major museum collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Tate, London, UK; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; the British Museum, London, UK; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, UK; The Whitworth, Manchester, UK, and Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT. Le Brun lives and works in London.
McClain Gallery extends special thanks to Albertz Benda, New York, for their collaboration on this exhibition.