Artists: Mike Cloud, Annabeth Marks, Ezra Tessler
Exhibition title: Walking the Cow
Venue: Good Weather, Green Gallery West, Milwaukee, US
Date: November 8 – December 10, 2019
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists, Good Weather and Green Gallery West
Note: Exhibition handout is available here
Good Weather is pleased to present Walking the Cow, an exhibition of works by Mike Cloud, Annabeth Marks, and Ezra Tessler that considers the sculptural potential of painting. Hosted by The Green Gallery, the exhibition is sited in a former painting studio in Milwaukee’s River West neighborhood (3849 N. Palmer St.), the most recent location of Green Gallery West. Walking the Cow opens November 8, 2019 from 8–10 pm, and is on view until December 10, 2019 by appointment (email@example.com).
Imagine walking a cow: strolling next to the animal in silence and communion. You continue on your way together, side-by-side, idle but present in each other’s company. A kind of meditative process with focus and contemplation. Cows are ruminant animals with a specialized stomach to extract nutrients before digestion even takes place. An exhibition is a place to ruminate. Painting is a form of rumination. Chewing the cud—Cloud, Marks, and Tessler, all partake in this daily practice of painting.
Cloud reconstitutes the history, formal components, and basic materials of painting into visceral, symbol-laden shapes. This deconstruction of the constituent elements of a painting (canvas, stretcher bars, paint) produces a self-referentiality that the artist muddles with language. The affect is mysterious and the result, as he explains, is a “space to contemplate the other, their suffering, and their reconciliation to their world.”
Marks’ paintings use color, collage, and the form of garments to explore what she calls “the visual language of framing, patterning, and abstract notions of landscape.” The matrix and membranes of the paintings cast the body as both in and of its surroundings. In traversing this boundless, illusory space, an emotional graph of deep feeling is created through idleness and activity.
Tessler’s works, meanwhile, undulate inwards and outwards toward the viewer, pushing the horizons of painting in idiosyncratic ways. In these small-scale works, rough-hewn forms cross the paintings’ bright surfaces, offering condensed panoramas of unfamiliar places. They are the artist’s attempt to provide, as he describes, “an analogy for addressing each other and the world in more dynamic and open-ended ways.”
In an era where painting is beside itself (1) and no longer contained, it folds in on a space of connection and introspection. What is a painting saying when it tells you that it is not just an image of the world but also an object in the world? Perhaps it proposes a way of living, fundamentally alone but also connected to others. Is it possible then to speak of what painting does, while avoiding any translation?
Mike Cloud (b. 1974 Chicago, Illinois) is a Chicago-based artist. After studying at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Cloud earned his MFA from Yale in 2003. His work has been shown extensively, including in solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1 (New York), Logan Center Exhibitions (Chicago), Max Protetch (New York), Thomas Erben Gallery (New York), Good Children Gallery (New Orleans), and the Greater Reston Arts Center (Reston, Virginia). His work has been included in group shows at Marianne Boesky Gallery (New York), White Columns (New York), Max Protetch (New York), Ceysson & Bénétière (New York), Honor Fraser Gallery (Los Angeles), Bannerette (New York), Tuck Under Projects (Minneapolis), Apexart (New York), the Landing (Los Angeles), and The Studio Museum in Harlem (New York), among others. In addition to numerous reviews, his work was part of Painting Abstraction by Bob Nickas, Phaidon Press (2009). He was awarded the inaugural Chiaro Award from the Headlands Center for the Arts, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and has had residencies at the Meulensteen Art Centre and the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program. Cloud is currently an Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Annabeth Marks (b. 1986 Rochester, New York) is an artist based in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA in painting from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College and her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Solo and two-person exhibitions include, Annabeth Marks at White Columns (New York), Discontinuous Flashes of Energy (with Matthew Schrader) at Carl Louie (London, Ontario), and Folding Down the Middle at Culture Room (New York). Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), Magenta Plains (New York), Derek Eller Gallery (New York), Overduin and Co. (Los Angeles), Aetopoulous (Athens, Greece), CANADA (New York), Rachel Uffner Gallery (New York), Halsey McKay (East Hampton, New York), Artist Curated Projects (ACP) (Los Angeles), and Bodega (Philadelphia). Marks’ collaboration with Eckhaus Latta was included in Greater New York at MoMA PS1 (New York) in 2015. Marks is currently working on an upcoming solo exhibition at Euclid Gallery in Los Angeles.
Ezra Tessler (b. 1980 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) lives and works in New York. He completed his MFA in painting from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College in 2016 and holds previous degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University. Solo and two-person exhibitions include The Nervous Hand (with Fabienne Lasserre) at 315 Gallery (New York), New Proposals (with Barb Smith) with Páramo at Zona Maco (Mexico City), Rafters at Culture Room (New York), and The Red-Haired Man at Good Weather (North Little Rock). His work has been included in group shows at the Landing (Los Angeles), Hap Gallery (Portland), Bannerette (New York), The Bedfellows’ Club (Little Rock), 315 Gallery (New York), and Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños (MUPO) (Oaxaca, Mexico), among others. He is the recipient of a Jacob Javits Fellowship, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, and a Pforzheimer Foundation Fellowship, among other awards. He was an artist-in-residence at the University of Tennessee, participant in Ox-Bow School of Art Fall Artist Residency and Elizabeth Murray Artist Residency, and is currently participating in the Workspace Residency at Dieu Donné.