With meticulous handwork, freewheeling imagination and a deep sense of art history, Gary Brotmeyer’s photo-based collages challenge us with a make-believe history. His art is one of both transformation and reanimation, taking the characters found in old cabinet photographs and reinventing them into new personalities, blending Cornell, Duchamp, Schwitters, and Borges into a unique body of work.
Brotmeyer enjoyed broad success during the 1980’s and 1990’s, exhibiting in group shows at many museums (MOMA, the MET, MFA Houston, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and others), as well as in a solo exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1989-1990. This current presentation at the Armory Show 2019 is his first one-person show since 2002.
Reviewing our gallery’s first show of his work in 1986, Eleanor Heartney wrote in the New Art Examiner ". . . Brotmeyer gives these lost souls new identities and thus a second chance at life. . . . [He] creates a bridge between two eras and two consciousnesses and reminds us that in the end nothing is more mutable than the past." Writing for Connoisseur Magazine, Vicki Goldberg observed that “his work is full of irreverent art references . . . and lunatic art inspirations.” The Village Voice professed “These small drawings, collages, and objects are smart, silly, and seductive . . . hard-to-resist.” John Szarkowski, the esteemed former Director of Photography at MOMA, commented on Brotmeyer’s alterations to old photographs: “Although the result is inadvertently surreal, the revision is so deft and simple that it seems merely to complete an outrageous idea that was implicit in the picture from the beginning. “
Brotmeyer’s work is held in the collections of the MET, MOMA, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum, ICP, the Baltimore Museum, the Minneapolis Art Institute, MFA Houston, and numerous others