Michael Brohman and Walter Barton at Pirate: Contemporary Art
Michael Brohman’s work is typically heavy on iron, figuration and angst, but his latest exhibition at Pirate: Contemporary Art is much more implicit. Pieces such as Frontier, Body and Place unrestrainedly explore an ambivalent figure ground relationship. Pairing cowhides with something hard, rusty or discarded in either a landscape or portrait composition these pieces either reference a horizon line or the line across the hips – the place of indentation where a small child is carried.
Using objects such as toy tractor wheels, buttons, steel fence posts and long sticks that are not manipulated but paired discontinuously, this work is honest and uncensored. It rests unmitigated offering little solace or comfort.
The softened and discarded screen from a door in the piece Horizon is pinned ceremoniously to the wall as if I could look out and see the space again where someone ran and played on the little patch of tended grass. Heavy on textiles, Brohman’s latest work is a question of softness–or is it of past hardness that is bending to carry it’s own weight?
Walter Barton’s exhibition “On One Wheel” in the associate space at Pirate: Contemporary Art references the transformation of unending work and unyielding pressure. Gathering up useless, worn and outdated wood he’s made a triumvirate of unsafe and unusable machines that reference the devilment and confidence of childish play.
Useful items that no longer hold practical purposes, rickety and outmoded- he’s reassembled utilitarian objects into a flying machine (Fair Wind), Caesar’s cart (We Tread a Perpetual Journey) or even with his 10-foot-tall wheeled ladder Let’s Be Realistic and Do the Impossible–Zeus’ rolling stairway.
Barton and Brohman are on exhibit through September 3oth at Pirate: Contemporary Art. 3655 Navajo Street, Denver, CO 80211