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April 7, 2024 to October 27, 2024 | Opatrny Vestibule, Opatrny Gallery, Sound Gallery

Layo Bright: Dawn and Dusk

"I'm inspired by our unique backgrounds, the current times we live in, the fragility of life, and the resilience to survive while navigating complex issues that seem to define us." - Layo Bright

Dawn and Dusk is Layo Bright’s first solo museum exhibition featuring new and borrowed works in glass and pottery made between 2020 and 2024. The show brings together several ongoing series tracking Bright’s synchronized jumps from figuration to abstraction. Working in the round, on the wall, and in relief, Bright’s practice centers narratives of ancestry, feminism, mass migration, and the African diaspora. She cites her matrilineal heritage, the Nigerian Ife Heads, and West African textiles, as well as contemporary artists Simone Leigh, Kara Walker, Wangechi Mutu, Fred Wilson, and Alison Saar as her inspirations.

Bright chooses materials that express geopolitical and biographical resonance to spotlight themes of matriarchy and migration. Her portraits in blown and kiln-formed glass and pottery are tributes to the women in her life. The origin of the exhibition’s title can be found in two blown glass busts, each named Dawn or Dusk, of a singular woman. This series, begun shortly after the murder of Breonna Taylor, honors female Black power in the wake of historic injustice. Bright adorns her ceramics with gele, West African head ties, symbols of beauty and culture. The handed down fabrics personify the memories of friends and family, advancing their stories forward. Her glass paintings, composed in panels, merge kiln-fused glass with grounds covered in Ghana-must-go bags (named after the 1983 decree that forced Ghanian immigrants from Nigeria), cheap woven nylon totes that characterize forced exodus and consider global displacement. Also included in the exhibition is The Thorns and Roses, 2022, a working fountain blown in a luminous black glass. Water in Yoruba culture is the dominion of the spirits, a liminal space where life and death coalesce. Bright’s newest glass works allude to masks and caryatids. As homages to women in the artist’s community and family, each is encircled by a lavish arrangement of cast and blown glass flowers, with some native to Nigeria. The sumptuous blossoms spread out of the frame and onto the wall, demonstrations of the bounty and fortitude of sisterhood.

This exhibition is curated by Amy Smith-Stewart, Chief Curator. It will be accompanied by a catalogue, the artist’s first institutional publication, which will include images of the works on view, installation views, and an essay by the curator.

Installation Images

Audio

Hear artist Layo Bright describe the first gallery in her Aldrich exhibition Dusk and Dawn.

Hear artist Layo Bright describe the second gallery in her Aldrich exhibition Dusk and Dawn.

Hear artist Layo Bright describe the third gallery in her Aldrich exhibition Dusk and Dawn.

About the Artist

Layo Bright was born in 1991 in Lagos, Nigeria and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received a law degree from Babcock University in 2014 and an MFA from the Parsons School of Design in 2018. Her work has appeared at venues including the Museum of Glass, Tacoma; moniquemeloche, Chicago; Sean Kelly Gallery, New York; Welancora Gallery, New York; Mike Adenuga Centre, Lagos, Nigeria; Parts & Labor, New York; Meyerhoff Gallery at MICA, Baltimore; Mana Contemporary, Chicago; Smack Mellon, New York, among others. She is the recipient of awards including the Ron Desmett Award for Imagination in Glass, UrbanGlass Visiting Artist and Designer Fellowship, the International Sculpture Center’s 2018 Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award (2018), and the Beyoncé Formation Finalist Scholarship (2017). She has attended residencies at Urban Glass, New York; Tyler School of Glass, Philadelphia; Art Cake, New York; NXTHVN, New Haven; Triangle, New York; Flux Factory, New York; The Studios at Mass MoCA, North Adams, MA; among others.

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Press

Funders

Generous support for Layo Bright: Dawn and Dusk is provided by Ellen and Andrew Celli. Significant support is provided by the Center for Craft. Additional support is provided by the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass and Bill and Christy Gautreaux, Kansas City, MO. The catalogue is supported by the Eric Diefenbach and James-Keith Brown Publications Fund. Production support is provided by the Diana Bowes and Jim Torrey Commissions Fund.


Related Events

June 27, 2024 at 12:00 pm | Virtual Program, Artist Program

Virtual Artist Talk: Layo Bright and Aindrea Emelife

Please join us for a virtual conversation on the current exhibition Layo Bright: Dawn and Dusk with artist Layo Bright and curator and art historian Aindrea Emelife, who is currently the Curator, Modern and Contemporary at MOWAA (Museum of West African Art,) and the curator of the Nigeria Pavilion at the 2024 Venice Biennale.

July 9, 2024 | Public Programs

“Getting” Contemporary Art: Layo Bright, Elizabeth Englander, and Loie Hollowell

Join us for “Getting” Contemporary Art led by Kristen Erickson, art history teacher and Director of the Luchsinger Gallery at Greenwich Academy. Through this three-session course, participants will engage deeply with The Aldrich’s spring exhibitions while having access to our galleries and the Museum’s Studio learning space in private evening sessions. Designed to provoke open and dynamic dialogue, these small classes will help participants learn to analyze, interpret, and discuss the contemporary artwork on view.

July 9, 2024 at 5:30 pm | Public Programs

“Getting” Contemporary Art: Layo Bright

Join us for “Getting” Contemporary Art led by Kristen Erickson, art history teacher and Director of the Luchsinger Gallery at Greenwich Academy. This class will focus on the glass sculptures of the Nigerian-born, New York-based artist Layo Bright.

July 15 at 9:30 am to July 19, 2024 at 4:00 pm | Camp Aldrich

Camp Aldrich: Week 1 (Grades 1 to 3) - AT CAPACITY

Join us at The Aldrich for a full-day, week-long arts experience with Museum Educators and a practicing teaching artist. Campers explore the Museum’s three-acre campus, learn in the galleries, and incorporate the world around them into their art.

July 17, 2024 at 1:00 pm | Group Tours

Seniors-Only Tour

Join us for this in-person gallery tour of highlighted works from our current exhibitions, guided by Education and Access Specialist Holly Lapine, reserved specifically for senior adults ages 60 and above!

July 20, 2024 at 10:00 am | Third Saturdays

Third Saturdays

Visit the Museum for FREE the third Saturday of every month as part of our Third Saturdays program.

July 20, 2024 at 1:00 pm | Third Saturdays, Free Admission, Group Tours

All Ages Discovery Tour

Have you ever looked at contemporary art and wished you knew what it meant? Have you ever entered a museum not knowing where to start? If you answered yes, this free, interactive, and judgment-free tour of our current exhibitions guided by a Museum Educator is perfect for you!

July 22 at 9:30 am to July 26, 2024 at 4:00 pm | Camp Aldrich

Camp Aldrich: Week 2 (Grades 1 to 3) - AT CAPACITY

Join us at The Aldrich for a full-day, week-long arts experience with Museum Educators and a practicing teaching artist. Campers explore the Museum’s three-acre campus, learn in the galleries, and incorporate the world around them into their art.

July 29 at 9:30 am to August 2, 2024 at 4:00 pm | Camp Aldrich

Camp Aldrich: Week 3 (Grades 4 to 6)

Join us at The Aldrich for a full-day, week-long arts experience with Museum Educators and a practicing teaching artist. Campers explore the Museum’s three-acre campus, learn in the galleries, and incorporate the world around them into their art.

August 17, 2024 at 10:00 am | Third Saturdays, Free Admission

Third Saturdays

Visit the Museum for FREE the third Saturday of every month as part of our Third Saturdays program.

August 17, 2024 at 10:30 am | Third Saturdays, Free Admission, Children and Family Programs

Story Time for Kids: Olu and Greta by Diana Ejaita

Bring your budding artists to The Aldrich for Story Time! Together, we will explore the work of artist Layo Bright, who makes sculptures of glass, oftentimes inspired by her family from Nigeria. Then, we will read Olu and Greta, written and illustrated by Diana Ejaita. Finally, we will move to The Studio to create our own paper cutouts inspired by the book’s fabulous illustrations!

August 17, 2024 at 1:00 pm | Third Saturdays, Free Admission, Group Tours

All Ages Discovery Tour

Have you ever looked at contemporary art and wished you knew what it meant? Have you ever entered a museum not knowing where to start? If you answered yes, this free, interactive, and judgment-free tour of our current exhibitions guided by a Museum Educator is perfect for you!

August 21, 2024 at 1:00 pm | Group Tours

Seniors-Only Tour

Join us for this in-person gallery tour of highlighted works from our current exhibitions, guided by Education and Access Specialist Holly Lapine, reserved specifically for senior adults ages 60 and above!



Top image: Layo Bright: Dawn and Dusk (installation view), The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, April 7 to October 27, 2024. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Jason Mandella