Clayton Brothers: Inside Out
September 12, 2010 – January 2, 2011
This is the first museum exhibition to survey the work of Rob and Christian Clayton. Twenty-six paintings and three major installations trace the brothers’ collaborative artistic endeavors from 2001 through 2009. Clayton Brothers: Inside Out is organized in six sections, each focused on a distinct series of work created by the artists.
The exhibition begins with the installation piece Tim House (In Green Pastures)—in the collection of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art—and concluding with the bold, large-scale canvases of the Jumbo Fruit series. Series titles suggest the disquiet or irony—or often both—that characterizes the individual works. Works in the As Is are connected by the concept of people, like houses or other objects available for purchase, being presented in “as-is” condition, while the Patient series portrays the subjects and ramifications of the medical industry with both humor and dismay.
Born respectively in 1963 and 1967, Rob and Christian spent most of their childhood in Colorado, but several family vacations took them to California, where they were drawn to the state’s edgy cultural energy. Today, their works show the influence of skateboard and surf culture, punk rock, folk art, cartoons, tattoo design, and street art. Rob and Christian initially maintained individual studio practices, but in 1996 they began to work on each other’s canvases. Collaboration has been central to their art making since that time. Remembered experiences, objects, people, and places become points of departure for the Clayton Brothers, as they take turns interpreting, building on, and editing each other’s painted responses.
The Clayton Brothers’ keen observations and recollections of the world around them result in loosely woven narratives that are deeply personal, but also strike universal chords. Their art remains steeped in a colorful visual vernacular borrowed from popular culture. Front and center in their work are the unique people, animals, and places that populate the outskirts of the American psyche.
Clayton Brothers: Inside Out has been generously funded by The DeAtley Family Foundation; James and Sylvia Vaccaro; J.H. Findorff & Son Inc.; Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C.; the Richard J. Massey Foundation for Arts and Sciences; the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission with additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation; Potter Lawson, Inc.; the Terry Family Foundation; Hooper Corporation-General Heating & Air Conditioning; H&H Electric and H&H Solar Energy Services; Bill White and Kathie Nichols; a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts; and the Art League of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.