MARCH is pleased to present Friends of Foes, an exhibition of recent works by Oregon-based artist and activist Bruce Burris. Timed to open the day before our new president takes office, the exhibition engages an uncertain world where politics and reality are shaped by misinformation, truly fake news, and a highly divided nation. In these new paintings, Burris has taken the physical language of this moment and stacked rendered versions of its words and phrases like building blocks to create absurd and beautiful meditations on the present.
Burris has long been engaged in literal forms of protest, chiefly as an advocate for neurodiverse artists, and organized academic programs, sit-ins, protests, and other community initiatives to address accessibility and other basic human rights issues that disproportionately affect artists with disabilities. In his drawings, however, Burris’ tactics eschew all reason and practical progress. He instead combines the absurd realities of far-right, reactionary ideologies with protest culture, creating layered paintings of legible and ornate slogans, rallying cries, and instruction. Guns Save Lives! Ranchers Lives Matter! Patriots Prepare! These slogans would seem comical but for the current political realities of modern American life.
Friends of Foes is organized in collaboration with Summertime, non-profit 501(c)3 art studio and gallery that connects neurodiverse artists with the people and world around them. The exhibition is further supported in part by the Ford Family Foundation and with funds from the Oregon Arts Commission.
Bruce Burris (b.1955, Wilmington, DE) is an artist, activist, and director of several community initiatives: Artworks – CEI, OUTPOST1000 and In Visible, that assist individuals with mental or emotional disabilities, many of whom are artists themselves. Burris’s practice stems from observations of class and philosophical divides. He has exhibited throughout the US, including the Portland2016 Biennial, curated by Michelle Grabner and presented by Disjecta Contemporary Art Center. Burris has been awarded fellowships or awards from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Hallie Ford Foundation, the Kentucky State Arts Council, the Delaware State Arts Council, the NEA-SAF, Puffin Foundation and Vermont Studio Center. His work is included in numerous public and private collections including the University of Kentucky Art Museum. Burris attended the San Francisco Art Institute and Nasson College.