Mike Weiss Gallery is pleased to present Michael Brown’s second solo show with the gallery, in the meantime…. For this body of work, the thirty-three year old artist hand-cuts and polishes stainless steel until he has recreated a broken mirror. Brown embarked on the series in 2006 and began exhibiting the works internationally in 2007 with Yvon Lambert Gallery. The exhibition will feature eight works all in stainless steel with artist’s frames and measuring 84 inches in height and 48 inches in width.
Brown begins abruptly, striking the surface of actual mirrors and surveying the cracks for appealing patterns to recreate. Beyond this initial stage, however, the process is arduous and painstaking. For each work, Brown must cut and polish hundreds of pieces of stainless steel. Yet the imagery is still defined by immediacy – it conjures frustration and angst but also seems to capture an impulsive and gratifying moment of release, where deep-seated feelings surface and become tangible.
Throughout his career, Brown has maintained a conscious and highly meticulous focus on his materials. “Stainless steel,” says the artist, “to me is a modern material that represents strength and efficiency….I like to think I’m embarrassing the material with my own labor.” There’s nothing easy about Brown’s working method; he must exhaust hours on end of manual labor to achieve a result that adheres to his scrupulous standards. Yet his result isn’t something that looks perfectly created; instead, the material appears broken – shattered to where the reflective purpose of the ‘mirror’ is moot. Looking into the heart of Brown’s spiderwebbed compositions, your vision becomes fragmented and it is impossible to see yourself clearly and in unity.
Inevitably, notions of the Self permeate Brown’s in the meantime… series – whether during the creative process (smashing your own reflection and then memorializing the act in steel) or in the reception (seeing your mirrored self as incorrigibly disjointed). Yet rather than align with any philosophical stance, the series acts most effectively as an impetus for inquiry. The manipulated reflections do not just force us to re-examine our corporeal selves, like some kind of fun-house mirror; they also beckon us to engage in a more thoughtful, valuable introspection.
Michael Brown lives and works in upstate New York. At a young age, the artist was quickly inducted into the forefront of the contemporary art scene with exhibitions at Yvon Lambert and Zwirner & Wirth among others. Since then, his work has been featured in The New York Times, Artforum, Time Out New York, and is in prominent collections around the world including The Beth Rudin deWoody Permanent Collection in New York, The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill, NY, the Rennie Collection in Vancouver, Canada and the collection of Sherry and Joel Mallin in New York.