October 7, 2020 - November 16, 2020
COOPER COLE is pleased to announce a two-person presentation of new works by Tau Lewis and Brie Ruais for Frieze London’s online fair.
Tau Lewis employs arduous methods such as hand sewing, carving, and assemblage to create intricate quilts and sculptural portraits of friends and imagined ancestors. For Frieze London, Lewis has made four new large-scale quilts. Entirely hand sewn, these works reflect on and depict matriarchal ancestors, and are made of textile, leather, and found objects. The process of working with reclaimed materials is important to Lewis, who sees labour as a process of healing trauma, and upcycling materials as a diasporic practice of resourcefulness.
Brie Ruais’ sculptural practice is rooted in her physically immersive relationship to clay. In an endurance and process-based approach, she works with the equivalent of her body weight in clay, using only her body as the tool. For Frieze London, the artist has made two ceramic wall works. These clay pieces were formed in an energetic burst of performative gesture, and then glazed using a similar approach: standing in the center of the works glaze was poured from a cup, producing cycling and dizzy movement. The forms that take shape through Ruais’ process are maps of a body’s movement as she shapes and is shaped by her material.
Both Lewis and Ruais’ practices reference diverse histories of labour. Through their respective processes, these artists imbue their sculptures with agency that travels with the works; they believe them to be bodies unto themselves. This presentation reflects on Lewis and Ruais’ common concerns with materials, the narratives they carry, and their transformative potentials.
Tau Lewis (b. 1993, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) is a self-taught artist whose practice is rooted in healing personal, collective, and historical traumas through labour. The materiality of Lewis’ work is often informed by her surrounding environment: she constructs out of found, gathered, and recycled materials from Toronto, New York, and outside of her family’s home in Negril, Jamaica. The transformative act of repurposing these materials recalls practices of resourcefulness in diasporic contexts; upcycling is a recuperative act that reclaims both agency and memory. The portraits themselves reference both individuals in Lewis’ community and imagined ancestors.
Lewis will be included in upcoming exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and Prospect 5, New Orleans. She has previously exhibited at international museums including Oakville Galleries, Oakville (2020); the Hepworth Wakefield, UK (2019); College Art Galleries, Saskatoon (2019); Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston (2018); the New Museum, New York (2017); the Art Gallery of Mississauga, Mississauga (2017); MoMA PS1, New York (2017); and the Art Gallery of York University, Toronto (2017). She has also exhibited in artist-run spaces including Mercer Union, Toronto (2018); Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg (2017); Gallery 44, Toronto (2017), and 8-11, Toronto (2017) and galleries such as Jeffrey Stark, New York (2019), Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles (2019); Shoot the Lobster, New York (2018), Night Gallery, Los Angeles (2017), and Cooper Cole, Toronto (2017). Lewis currently lives and works in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Brie Ruais (b. 1982, Southern California, California, USA) makes ceramic sculptural works that pull people into relation with the Earth. Her practice has evolved in meaning through various relationships: her physical relationship to clay, the clay’s relationship to the earth, and the work’s relationship to mapping movement.
Ruais lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, USA. She received her MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts in 2011 and is a recipient of the 2018 Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant. She has exhibited internationally in museums and galleries including Craft Contemporary, Los Angeles (2020), Musée d’art de Joliette, Joliette (2020); Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas (2019), Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia (2019), Albertz Benda Gallery, New York (2019); Night Gallery, Los Angeles (2018); Cooper Cole, Toronto (2018). She is featured in Vitamin C: New Perspectives in Contemporary Art, Clay and Ceramics, published by Phaidon Press in 2017. Ruais’ work is in the collections of the Dallas Museum of Art, TX; Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, Arkansas; Matamoros Art In Embassies Collection, Mexico; The Pennsylvania Academy of Art, Philadelphia; the Pizzuti Collection, OH; and the Burger Collection Hong Kong. Next year will mark her first institutional solo presentation, curated by Frauke V. Josenhans, at the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University in Houston, Texas. This November, Ruais will have a solo presentation at Night Gallery, Los Angeles.