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Important Update

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 glass flowers 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.

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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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. 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

April 6, 2024 at 3:00 pm | Exhibition Opening, Member Preview

Exhibition Opening | Layo Bright and Elizabeth Englander

Members and friends, please join us to celebrate Layo Bright: Dawn and Dusk and Elizabeth Englander: Eminem Buddhism, Volume 3 before the exhibitions open to the public.

April 20, 2024 at 10:00 am | Free Admission

Third Saturdays

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

April 20, 2024 at 10:30 am | Third Saturdays, Free Admission, Children and Family Programs

Story Time for Kids: Smile with African Style

Together, we will explore the artwork of Layo Bright, who uses glass to create sculptures that remind her of her family! Then, we will read Smile with African Style by Mylo Freeman and move to the Museum’s Studio to create our own fabric collages to represent our families.

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

Camp Aldrich: Week 1 (Grades 1 to 3)

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

Camp Aldrich: Week 2 (Grades 1 to 3)

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.



Top image: Layo Bright, Bloom in Spring Green & Purple, 2023, 21 x 17.5 x 5 inches, Kiln formed glass. Courtesy of the artist