Oh Me! Oh My! Whatever Does It Mean, Michael Brohman
For his annual solo, Oh Me! Oh My! Whatever Does It Mean?, Michael Brohman shows off his usual approach to contemporary sculpture at Pirate Contemporary Art (3655 Navajo Street, 303-458-6058). The metal and mixed-material pieces have been set on organically shaped risers that some may recognize from the Eames show at Emmanuel.
Brohman, a Denver sculptor, is a conceptual realist with a taste for teenage-boy gross-out material. A good example is "Prick" — doesn't that incendiary title say it all? — in which an abstract bust has been sculpted from horse manure and covered with porcupine quills. The entire assemblage is mounted on a steel column.
Less disgusting, though equally unnerving, are his weird "Babylope" sculptures, which are babies with antlers done in metal. The surrealist forms were inspired by Brohman's stay in Wyoming, where the mythic Jackalope — a jackrabbit with antlers — looms large in the local folklore and the roadside souvenir business. As usual, Brohman eschews cute depictions, rendering the babylopes trussed up like game, as in "Measure for Measure" (pictured), or smashed on the ground as roadkill.
The babylopes aren't without their charms, however, something that can't be said for the ugly and stomach-turning "Chicababies," which are plucked chickens with baby heads. In a complicated and completely over-the-top installation, Brohman has placed the ugly mutants all around a headless (though otherwise fully accessorized) nude man lying on his back. And just so we don't miss its in-your-face character — as if we possibly could — the piece is called "The Cock With his Chicababies."
Brohman is a very interesting artist, and his workmanship in polished cast iron for this piece couldn't be finer. I just wish the subject matter were as appealing — which is what I'd say about the entire exhibit. He'd certainly be taken more seriously if he would reel in his all-consuming interest in being outrageous, even just a little. Oh Me! Oh My! Whatever Does It Mean? runs through September 30.
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