Brown is pleased to present an exhibition of work by Bradford Bailey and Rutherford Chang, two American artists who address ideas of media, politics, language, society and culture through systematically defined and minimalistic processes.
Bradford Bailey’s drawings and paintings address sociopolitical issues within a realm of stark aesthetics. In his Empathy Equations, a series of white-on-white paintings, Bailey investigates the pattern and placement of antisocial and deviant behaviour within a strict set of geographical coordinates. Adopting the role of a flâneur or investigator, Bailey maps his routes beforehand, records isolated instances, and then transfers the collected information using a structured ‘empathy’ equation to a canvas. The result is an abstract narrative of a given place, equated by lines, spaces and angles. By addressing the behavioural stamps and political rhetoric appointed to region, ethnicity and class, Bailey’s white-on-white strategy removes the creative hand from the work and expresses the difficulties related to the role of art in reproduction. The technique is furthered in his text-based work where phrases, including To Two Too Truths 2, highlight puns and linguistic rearrangement, echoing the conceptual text work of John Baldessari and Joseph Kosuth.
Rutherford Chang’s work plays with the rearrangement of cultural products, exploring notions of language and information, and its distribution throughout media. In NBC Nightly News: June 14, 2004, a 20-minute news programme is reordered alphabetically. Throughout this repetitive and intensive process, Chang’s use of rapid editing transforms language and vocabulary into abstraction, where information is systematically dissected and distilled for the viewer. Word and image are stripped of their context and adopt new meanings as they are revealed in their singular form.
In Chang’s Dead Air, the spoken portions of President George W. Bush’s 2003 State of the Union Address are completely removed, resulting in a string of pauses, breaths, and applause. The 60-minute speech is reduced to 30 minutes of ‘dead air’ – an arrangement that underlines not only the absurdities of the Administration, but the performance and spectacle of an event.
Bradford Bailey was born in 1978 in Morristown, New Jersey. He received his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002 and his BFA form the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2000. He has been included in exhibitions at KS Art, New York; The Hex, London; and Brown, London. He will also be included in an upcoming exhibition at Thomas Dane, London. The artist lives and works in London.
Rutherford Chang was born in 1979 in Houston, Texas. He received his BA from Wesleyan University in 2002. Past exhibitions include Insomnia, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; AIM 23, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; The Presidency, Exit Art, New York; Räume und Schatten, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; and Delirious Beijing, PKM Gallery, Beijing. The artist currently lives and works in Beijing.