Two intelligent solos at Pirate are worth a look

There are currently two good-looking and intelligent solos at Pirate that are definitely worth a look.

In the members' gallery up front, established Denver sculptor Michael Brohman is presenting Place, with work created during a summer-long residency at the Jentel Foundation in Banner, Wyoming. This is the second time Brohman has worked at Jentel; the first was in 2007, and he has been doing fully developed Western-style pieces since then. So even if Western-style contemporary art is currently the latest thing, Brohman's been at it for the past five years.

The "place" of the show's title is Wyoming, but the word also refers, Brohman says, to his own state of mind. The show has been sparely installed, with Brohman including just eight of the twenty pieces he created during the residency. Most are made from found materials and have a tremendous economy about them. This, in its extreme form, is represented by "Horizon," a piece of door screening that reveals the shadow of a lost brace, thus expressing the horizon. "Frontier," which Brohman says refers to the cloudy sky, comprises a pieced cowhide with the fur still on it, and, placed on top, the blue and white tailgate of a 1970 Chevrolet pickup truck. It's brilliant in the minimal way it refers to the Western landscape tradition. "Deer Skull With Butterflies" (pictured) also tips its hat to Western art; it's made up of a deer skull, a pierced stainless-steel box, and a fragment of apron from the artist's grandmother that's printed all over with butterflies.

In the Associates Space in the back is On One Wheel, a show made up of three impressive contraptions based on the wheelbarrow form. These striking pieces were made by emerging artist Walter Barton, who is a former student of Brohman's. And like his teacher, Barton likes to take found objects and turn them into thought-provoking things.

The Brohman and Barton shows at Pirate Contemporary Art (3655 Navajo Street, 303-458-6058) close on September 30.

 
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