Where We Overlap, at moCa

Curatora and artist Davon Brantley. Photo by Charlee Harris.

Where We Overlap, on view in the Lewis Gallery at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland (moCa), is a shining example of the age old adage “We are more similar than we are different.”   Curator Davon Brantley paired several artists with seemingly different styles and approaches, so that they could learn from each other and collaborate on works of art that highlight the areas that overlap or unify their skill sets.

Where We Overlap, from the perspective of an artist, is the answer to common questions that most of us have when viewing our peers’ work. Those questions being, I wonder what their process is? or how they work in their studio space? Sadly, we are rarely afforded the opportunity to engage a fellow artist in a more intimate setting or intentional manner.  Brantley really understood the figurative assignment and successfully fills this void.

“When I have been in group shows I’ve wanted that experience to where I can learn more about the artist, more about why they create, how they end up with this masterpiece on the wall” said Brantley.

Brantley’s artist selection for the exhibition was extremely intentional: making sure the group included both new and familiar faces in the area’s art scene was important to him:  “My process started with me listing people that I knew, people I wanted to get to know better and also who I thought would make great teams”.

After narrowing down his list, Brantley was able to match artists with partners he felt could learn from one another. Some artists were paired because they had similar core values but practice in different mediums. Brantley thought about generational differences when grouping artists:  “You have older generation and younger generation paired up. I was thinking about how do we bridge that gap between them so that we’re not always feeling like the older generation of artists–who are more established–are just so far away from us that we cannot communicate or collaborate”. 

Artists Kacey Gill, Crystal Miller and Aaron D Williams explored the theme of “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,” with each creating their own interpretation of the proverb and how it applies to the current trend of pitting black artists against each other. Although each artist has a different approach to the topic, the work displays their collective goal of leading by example and being the change needed to provide a higher standard with fellow black artists.

The collaborative theme of Where We Overlap truly shines through the work. While some artist teams worked in tandem on pieces, others collaborated on topics and style. Derek Walker incorporated an underpainting from collaborative partner David Buttram. Derek also borrowed from David’s style of painting when completing the grass and foliage in “Sonshine,” a piece from their collaboration. 

The exhibition is an example of the new direction the Cleveland art scene is moving towards, with emphasis being put on collaboration over competition. “In general for the Cleveland arts scene we need to find a middle ground of where we are supporting each other and actively in each other’s spaces learning about each other,” Brantley said. Where We Overlap will be on display until June 5th.

Where We Overlap

April 29 – June 5, 2022

moCa Cleveland

11400 Euclid Avenue

Cleveland, Ohio 44106

The opinions expressed on CAN Blog are those of the individual writers. Art is somewhat subjective. Well, somewhat. But yes, everybody's a critic.

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