September 8 - October 13, 2019
Brown’s vernacular has its roots in American Pop. Almost all work begins with recognizable, common objects from daily life—lawn chairs, mirrors, brooms and pails—which then goes through a painstaking hand-crafted transformation. These objects still retain their essential characteristics, but are entirely remade in different and unexpected materials. Thus, they are handmade–ready-mades in the lineage of Robert Gober. Like Gober, Brown’s works mine the everyday and memory. Gober’s tenderly handmade Sink With Drainboard comes from his memory as a child of his grandmother’s sink. Brown’s father makes a living as a welder – Brown reverently transmutes this into formal welded works of art. Michael pulls objects from the everyday-paintbrushes, brooms, lawn chairs and more – the things we might neglect and renews them. He brings to light both what they were and what they have become.
In his signature work, Brown meticulously traces patterns of cracks then hand-cuts pieces of highly-polished hand-cut stainless steel, then pieces them together to create precise “mirror” sculptures. These intentional dysfunctional mirrors are beautiful objects; they assert that we see imperfection in a different light. The New York Times wrote in 2008, “It freezes an act of anarchic rage into a lovely, spidery web.”
At age twenty Brown was included in a seminal museum exhibit of 12 US graduate students at Hudson Vallery MOCA, Peekskill. Within a year his work was included in shows at David Zwirner, Zwirner and Wirth, and with representation at Yvon Lambert Gallery in Paris and New York. A small work of Brown’s on the floor of David Zwirner gallery stood prominently beside the “big names” – Hatoum, Bourgeois, Whiteread, and Gober- in the 2011 exhibition “The House Without the Door.” Brown’s contribution was a small house painter’s brush with a black handle crafted from melted Neil Young records.
Life intervenes. Two representing galleries closed and Brown with urgent pressures withdrew from the studio for a few years. In May 2018 he was included in the first Westchester Art Triennial, and reopened his studio.
Untitled, 2019 (detail)
In The Meantime...
Hand-cut stainless steel on panel, artist's frame
61.3 x 49.75 inches (155.7 x 126.4 cm)
In The Meantime... (detail)
In the Meantime...
Hand-cut stainless steel on panel, walnut frame
80 x 48 x 2.5 inches (121.9 x 203.2 cm)
Aluminum and stainless steel