Lex Brown and Johnathan Payne
Miss Lizzie’s Lattice
September 25 - November 8, 2020
Deli Gallery is honored to present Miss Lizzie’s Lattice , a two person exhibition with new drawings and paintings by Lex Brown and Johnathan Payne.
Apparently when life changes, you see bats. Getting to the why of the matter, the root, is hard to
pinpoint, but they appeared to each of us in late August. One was flying around frantically, another
hanging out on the crown molding, in two completely different states. It was eerie to see the creature of
the night not far from the living room. They are so unlike birds, and so unfamiliar – in many ways, like this
When we asked Ms. Lizzie, she said they were symbols of death and rebirth. She took a scrap of paper
and drew a circle, sliced it into pieces of a pie, and turned the slices into spokes. Next to the spokes she
drew an arrow to show us how to turn the wheel, or simply that it could turn. She said that it moves in
exactly one direction which is forward, but also around: the conduit by which we are to understand a
specific type of labor, exchange, and values.
It was a small drawing but we were getting our entire life from it. On that particular day she was wearing
knee-high boots, a muumuu, and a silicone molded mask that another artist had made for her. She
always knows when to say the truth, and how to say it. Our conversations have a sonic pattern where we
lapse into deep analysis and then shake ourselves out of it with hilarious one-liners, and metaphors.
Mizz Lizzie says it’s connected to the verbal sugars, to craving the sonic sweetness of another. It feels
acrobatic, like flying: to be in words, then under them, then above them once again. Tenderness; sharp
wit and reverence; undulations in tempo, tone, and movement; balance; discipline; rigor… These
elements are interwoven into our individual bodies of work and our friendship.
When we get together, it’s one of the rare times when “what goes unsaid” is a good feeling. This
exhibition is rooted in respect, care, and love.
Lex Brown is an artist, musician, and writer. Working fluidly across form, her work uses poetry and science-fiction to create an index for our psychological and emotional experiences as organic beings in rapidly a technologized world. She has performed and exhibited work at the New Museum, the High Line, the International Center of Photography, Recess, The Kitchen, The Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Munch Museum. Brown holds degrees from Yale University (MFA) and Princeton University (BA). She is the author of My Wet Hot Drone Summer, a sci-fi erotic novella that takes on surveillance and social justice. Consciousness, a survey of Brown's work spanning the past 8 years, is newly available from GenderFail. Containing documentation from 46 different videos and performances, as well as 33 original lyrics, it is Brown's first book to have been acquired by the collections of the Met, MoMA, Whitney, and SFMoMA. Brown is a Lecturer in the Program of Visual Arts at Princeton University and a College Fellow in Theater and Media at Harvard University.
Johnathan Payne (he/him) is a Queer, African-American visual artist currently living and working in Iowa City, IA. He obtained a BA in art from Rhodes College in 2012 and received his MFA in painting and printmaking from Yale School of Art in 2018. Payne was a Spring 2020 Artist-in-Residence at Crosstown Arts in Memphis, TN, and is currently the 2020-21 Grant Wood Fellow in Painting and Drawing at the University of Iowa, where he is also a visiting assistant professor at the School of Art and Art History. Payne is the inaugural recipient of the Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson Residency located in Columbus, OH, which he will complete in summer 2021.
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