Michael Brown’s first step is over in an instant—hammer in hand, he strikes the center of a mirror. Then, the real work begins. He picks the most appealing patterns and traces them with a marker on a piece of acetate, which he affixes to a piece of mirror-polished stainless steel. He then cuts out each piece, mostly using a hand saw similar to a jewelry saw. The fragments are then “put back together like a big puzzle,” he tells says, and mounted on a panel.
“Think Henry Rollins on the cover of Black Flag's Damaged smashing a mirror,” writes the artist, describing the destructive creative process. “I take the patterns I like and I recreate them out of stainless steel.” Brown’s recreations make up his series in the meantime… which is currently hanging at Mike Weiss Gallery in New York.
Since Brown’s works are an exploration of angst, it seems appropriate that the feeling of release from the impulsive, momentary wreckage is only the beginning of the process, not the final note. Angst is unfocused and persistent—it is a slow unease. Brown’s laborious process reflects that kind of creeping malaise.
Brown started the series in 2006. A year later, several of the sculptures began making their way into exhibitions and art fairs, “But I had never been able to show the works the way I had originally intended them to be seen, at the proper scale/size, as a whole body of work,” writes the artist in an email to The Creators Project. The current show at Mike Weiss was his opportunity to stage the works as he’d originally envisioned, and to revisit the decade-long series. “I do think it's important for a young artist to experiment and push their work, sometimes come back to an idea later in order to reach its greater potential,” he comments.
In the gallery, the sculptures reflect back disjointed shapes and viewpoints, breaking to pieces any viewer that passes through the space. That’s the thing about anxiety—once you identify it elsewhere, you also recognise its existence within.
Michael Brown’s in the meantime… is on view at Mike Weiss Gallery until May 7.