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Artist Michelle Grabner's first comprehensive solo show opens at MOCA Cleveland
Michelle Grabner, Untitled, 2013, Color-aid and paper, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artist and Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago.

CLEVELAND, OH.- MOCA Cleveland opened its fall 2013 exhibitions on November 1 with Chicago-based artist Michelle Grabner’s first comprehensive solo museum show, and a survey of works from the past five years by Simon Evans, a British artist based in New York. The season’s exhibitions continue to call attention to important artists working today and explore their ways of working, providing visitors with in-depth presentations and rich experiences. Both exhibitions include newly commissioned works, which continue to engage the architecture of MOCA Cleveland’s new building.

Michelle Grabner: I Work From Home (November 1, 2013–February 16, 2014)
Organized by David Norr, Chief Curator

The fall kicked off with Michelle Grabner’s first comprehensive solo museum exhibition, I Work From Home. The exhibition surveys Grabner’s paintings from 1993 to the present alongside an extensive selection of the artist’s photographs, video works, sculptures, and collaborations with other artists, which investigate themes of repetition, work, and the dynamics of domestic life. A particular focus of the exhibition is Grabner’s paintings, including her earliest representational works based on textile patterns from her domestic environment to her shift in focus on abstraction. MOCA Cleveland’s presentation comes at a moment when the artist is being widely recognized for her important contributions to the field, including her selection as a co-curator of the 2014 Whitney Biennial.

An important feature of the exhibition is a replica of The Suburban, the eight-by-eight-foot project space that she and her husband and frequent collaborator, Brad Killam, have maintained next door to their home in Oak Park, Illinois since 1998. Over the years, this project space has hosted the work of over 200 artists, both emerging and internationally known, gaining an international reputation. For the exhibition, MOCA Cleveland rebuilt a replica of The Suburban in its Main Gallery to accommodate a series of projects and related programs. Artists featured include Karl Haendel (November 1–26, 2013); Michael Smith (December 1-31, 2013); Amanda Ross-Ho (January 5–22, 2014); and Jessica Jackson Hutchins (January 26–February 16, 2014). Additionally, Grabner and Killam have created a new hanging sculpture for the Museum’s Donna and Stewart Kohl Atrium as the second installment in the Museum’s annual Atrium Commission series.

“Michelle’s art will be very compelling for our audiences. They will see first-hand the discipline of her process, and the impressive results of more than 20 years of dedicated studio practice. This is an artist who has reshaped the Midwest art scene from her backyard, and she is the perfect example of how an artist can create space for production and dialog outside of typical art centers,” said Norr.

Michelle Grabner (b. 1962, Oshkosh, Wisconsin) lives and works in Oak Park, Illinois. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at PEREGRINEPROGRAM, Chicago; INOVA, The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Minus Space, Brooklyn; Ulrich Museum, Wichita; and University Galleries, Illinois State University. She has been included in group exhibitions at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Tate St. Ives, UK; and Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland.

Simon Evans: Only Words Eaten by Experience (November 1, 2013–February 16, 2014)
Organized by Rose Bouthillier, Assistant Curator

Concurrently opening in the Toby Devan Lewis Gallery is an overview of the past five years of work by British artist Simon Evans, including text-based drawings, weavings, sculptures, and embroideries. This exhibition, titled Only Words Eaten by Experience, is Evans’s first solo show in the Midwest. The exhibition invites visitors into the mind of the artist as he tries to make sense of his world, offering glimpses of his humor and vulnerability.

Evans uses a meticulous process to assemble simple materials like paper scraps, scotch tape, pencil shavings, and white-out into diagrams, maps, and flowcharts that obsessively catalogue fragments of life and share confessional, often humorous, observations. The exhibition is accompanied by a new text-based installation, titled Existing Models of Escape (2013), in the interior of the Museum’s Kohl Monumental Stair.

“Simon’s art is extremely personal and honest. His work explores the complexities of contemporary life and the ways we all cope with reality, relationships, and our own imperfect selves—which can be in turns beautiful, dark, pathetic and brave,” says Bouthillier.

Simon Evans (b. 1972, London, UK) lives and works in New York. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean (MUDAM), Luxembourg; Aspen Art Museum; White Columns, New York; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. A travelling two-person exhibition featuring Evans and Öyvind Fahlström was held at Kunshtal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen and Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany.

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