Citation
Journey : the art of Michael Brohman

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Title:
Journey : the art of Michael Brohman
Creator:
Chisholm, Colleen
Place of Publication:
Denver, Colo.
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
iii, 66 p. : col. ill. ; 29 cm.

Notes

General Note:
B.A. Art History thesis. University of Colorado, Denver.
General Note:
UCD undergraduate thesis : Art history

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Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
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Copyright [name of copyright holder or Creator or Publisher as appropriate]. Permission granted to University of Colorado Denver to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
124156551 ( OCLC )

Full Text
Journey
The Art of:
Michael Brohman
Written by Colleen Chisholm
B.A. Art History Thesis
University of Colorado, Denver


Contents
Contents i
List of Illustrations ii
Introduction 1
Journey 2
Identity 11
Memory 25
Religion 48
Conclusion 51
Bibliography 53
Figures
54


ii
List of Illustrations
1.1 Michael Brohman, Journey, 2002, bronze.
1.2 Michael Brohman, Fear and Faith, 2004, bronze.
1.3 Michael Brohman, Gently Down the Stream, 2004, bronze and found wooden
objects.
1.4 Michael Brohman, Fall and Rise, 2003, bronze.
2.1 Michael Brohman, Dirty Underwear, 2002, bronze.
2.2 Michael Brohman, Go Ahead and Stare, 2002, bronze.
2.3 Michael Brohman, Cicada, 2003, bronze.
2.4 Michael Brohman, Don't Know Nothin Bout Birthin No Babies, 2003, bronze.
2.5 Michael Brohman, Pepto Bismal Pink Baby, 2003, bronze.
2.6 Michael Brohman, Sights Unseen, 2003, bronze.
3.1 Michael Brohman, Counting Backwards, 2004, bronze and fabric.
3.2 Michael Brohman, Catalogued Chickadees, 2004, bronze and steel.
3.3 Michael Brohman, Possums, 2003, bronze.
3.4 Michael Brohman, Me and My Shadow, 2004, bronze and steel.
3.5 Michael Brohman, A Fragment of Her Former Self, 2001, bronze.
3.6 Michael Brohman, Silent Memories, 2004, bronze, wooden shelving, canned
goods, fruit, insects, and wax.
4.1 Michael Brohman, Laws of Man/ Laws of God, 2004, bronze, wood, and steel.
4.2 Michelangelo Buonarroti, Creation of Adam, 1508-12, fresco painting.
4.3 Michael Brohman, Choices, 2005, rams skull and wool.
4.4
Michael Brohman, Lamb, 2005, lambs skull, wool, and steel.


Ill
4.5 Michael Brohman, Trinity, 2005, rams skull, wool, steel, and human hair.
4.6 Michael Brohman, Umbilical Noose, 2005, cast iron, steel, wool, and human hair.
4.7 Michael Brohman, Silencing the Lambs, 2005, bronze, wool, and steel.
4.8 Michael Brohman, Lazarus, 2005, bronze.
4.9 Michael Brohman, Return, 2004, cast iron, steel, water.
5.1 Michael Brohman, Reliquary #1, 2004/2005, cast iron, human skull, bees wax,
and cicada shell.
5.2 Michael Brohman, Reliquary #2, 2004, human pelvis, spinal column, bronze,
mirror and plywood.


1
Introduction
Whenever an artist creates, the work is an amalgamation of inner sensibilities and
outer need. The internal factors are of the artists psyche or the layer from which
creativity emanates. The outer need is a reaction to all the forces of the artists
surrounding world and fellow human beings. As viewers, we carefully consider the time,
the place, the person, and the message surrounding the art. But often, even these
measurements are frail. For the most part, an artist creates when he is summoned by the
art, not visa versa.
Michael Brohman is a sculptor whose life work is to unravel the mysteries of his
self and the other. Through this meditation, he acknowledges that the life and death cycle
is a natural one. In his artistic trials, his process becomes like the cyclical birthing and
dying seen in nature. As an artist, Brohman has the ability to infuse energy and
strengthen life, and to stand out of the way of what must die.
His work is analyzed here through chapters. Journey, Identity, Memory, Religion
and Mind are categorizations within the grand scheme of his aim. The boundaries are
transferable, not fixed. All of his work is the journey of the artist and the viewer, the self
and the other. That journey has evolved and continues to develop over time. In order to
understand it, we must take a look into the meaning of identity, memory, religion and
mind. One of the most remarkable things about using intuition and the instinctive nature
is that it causes a surefooted spontaneity to erupt. Michael Brohman does that by shutting
off the ego for a while and letting that which wishes to speak, speak. In his art, we
clearly see all sides of ourselves and others, both the disfigured and the divine and all
conditions in between.


2
Journey
The art works in this chapter are a visual testimony to the process of journey.
With reverences to vessels, Brohman explores the passage of time as both an individual
and collective experience. In contemplating the progression of time, these works are
visual proof to the impossibility of isolation; how every event in mankinds history,
incident in personal history, or individual act is never independent of either effect or
recourse. No matter how horrendous, or inhumane, any act of humanity comprises the
mapping of human consciousness. Conversely, any act of love or support by one person
to another serves as positive basis for development. And within, the individual every
choice and action impacts the future. Humanity, family, and self are constantly involved
in journey. Cause and effect is a continuum that holds true on all stratum of existence.
Isolation from this array of chain reaction is a paradox. The body, the family, and the
human experience are all vessels through which the interactions of internal and external
forces are a river to be navigated.
Journey, a bronze sculpture from 2002, sits on a grassy plot outside of the
Emmanuel Gallery on the Auraria Campus. The artist hates the site because little blades
of grass are able to grow through the spaces of the sculpture. It is a piece that consists of
many human forms united to create a vessel. Brohman would rather have it set in an
interior space where it does not interact with nature. In a plain, interior setting, the
viewer experiences an aura that emanates from the concept of the piece. In nature, the
function of the piece changes to a public, less meditative work, as it is a member of the
active outdoors, not set aside in artifactual preservation. Even though this is the only
piece of Brohmans work situated outdoors and the artist would rather it be in a different


3
setting, it is apropos for Journey to act as a representative figure or greeter to an art
gallery on a university campus.
The boat is quite large and demonstrates the conjunction of life experiences
through individuals within society. Each skeletal figure bears a resemblance to a spirit or
ghost whose physicality has drained away, leaving a thin, sexless, hairless body. There
are no cues to assign the figures shaping the vessel to the world of the living or to the
world of the dead. They are aligned shoulder-to-shoulder, or head-to-toe. From a
distance, the figures appear more as ribs than representations of humans and the boat
itself looks more like the remains of a beached whale. Upon closer examination,
however, the figures are stunningly human: objects produced and shaped by human craft.
One is apt to remember the mythological river, Styx of which many know its name,
without knowing its origin or what it really stood for. It was said to be a river that
separates the world of the living from the world of the dead. Styx it is said, winds around
Hades (hell or the underworld are other names) nine times. Its name comes from the
Greek word stugein which means hate, Styx, the river of hate.1 This river was so
respected by the gods of Greek mythology that they would take life-binding oaths just by
mentioning its name.1
But, ask the artist if this is Journeys true meaning, and he will tell you no. To
Brohman, this vessel recalls slave ships in which slaves and slave traders shared an
experience. Although the experiences of these people were not identical, they occurred
simultaneously within time and environment. The inhumanity of the slave traders
impacted the lives of many, yet they were not removed from the cruelty as the
1 Arthur Cotterell, Classical Mythology: An Authoritative Reference to the Ancient Greek, Roman, Celtic
and Norse Legends. (New York, Lorenz Books, 2000), p. 129.


oppressors. Slave and master alike lived through an unbearable experience that was
ultimately driven by the most detestable human behaviors. Even if indeterminate, post-
referential subjectivities can now reasonably be taken as givens and art objects are still
visited by their social and political contexts. This element of contradiction (between the
artists interpretations vs. others) explains the frequently ambivalent treatment of artists
accounts of their own creation: although we recognize that they possess a privileged and
even unique position, we tend to dismiss their explanations as rationalizations. The
viewer is inclined to prefer independent interpretation or judgment based on individual
personal impressions, feelings, and opinions rather than external facts. This preference
can often be justified with solid arguments, but it also happens to satisfy the general
tendency of modem critical thought to discover and to unveil, to oppose the hidden,
the latent, and the repressed, to the explicit and the manifest. Thus, our suspicion itself
must be suspect, and it is necessary to examine in what regard, and under what
conditions, use can be made of the artists accounts of the origins of their works.
It is significant that Brohmans reference to slavery in drawing inspiration from
the plans of a Portuguese slave ship, coincides with the reference to the Greek word
stugein. Whether the viewer of Journey thinks of the River Styx or of the slave trade,
there is an underlying expression of fear and hate. The figures connected in a hellish
experience, whether in slavery or mythological references to Hades. Fear is the
fundamental emotion behind human injustice and manifests itself through hate. Hate is
the opposite of love and in its fullest capacity is just as powerful. It is as if the individuals
that create the boat sculpture are being catapulted through time by overpowering passion.
It is a journey through the darkest human capabilities where a collective sentiment has the


5
power to engulf many in a stream of loathing. The force driving this vessel is one to be
reckoned with and it is a piece that does not allow the viewer to take behavior lightly.
Each of us is responsible for our actions because the journey of life consists of individual
experiences manifested into one large boat, representing the passage of time.
This passage is taken to a heightened visual materialization in Fear and Faith,
made from bronze in 2004. Like Journey, this piece is a vessel, however, its implications
about humankinds own inhumanity unto itself is brought to fruition through the
investigation of religious or political zeal. The bodies that comprise this boat are not
neatly united as in Journey. Instead, the bodies are amassed at the base and fringe
towards the top like a mass grave. Brohman references horrific events in history in which
genocide occurred, such as the Holocaust in Europe, the genocide in Rwanda, or 9/11.
The puzzling afterthought is: How is it possible for man to commit such evil? The artist
attributes it to an intense, overpowering fear that is instilled in the perpetrators by radical
faith.
Fear and Faith forces the viewer to reflect on humankinds potential for
destruction. Numbers in reference to body counts have a numbing effect. This piece
gives us a glimpse into what those numbers really mean. It means the disposal of bodies
and a disregard for the sanctity of life in order to fulfill a fundamentalist viewpoint. The
bodies are laid one on top of the other in a conglomerate of death. The rawness of the
bronze mimics the color of earth as the bodies that create the vessel seem to be both
human and overwhelmingly terrestrial. Each form is a nameless victim and represents
one number that we might hear of in a body count from appalling events in which
countless lives are affected. The faith in these cases is promoted by fear. Fear manifests


6
itself in hate. Brohman invites us to consider the dangerous effect that fear and faith have
on humanity. He asks what kind of a God would approve of the systematic and planned
extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group. And is it God or man
that makes these distinctions to begin with?
Although one could view Fear and Faith as simply a dismal account of history,
the sculpture ultimately acts as both a reminder and catalyst for change. The artist
reminds us of the devastating effects of a fear-based set of doctrines or beliefs that can
form the basis of faith. These bodies serve as a vessel to propel humanity into a
heightened consciousness. Perhaps, if anything can be gained from memorializing
genocide, it is the attempt to surmount fear and hate. Once we recognize the driving
factor in acts of the methodical extermination of multitudes of people, we have the ability
to avoid hate in the future. Each individual represented in the piece has analogies to a
larger configuration. It is in the decoding of this larger system in constitution that Fear
and Faith makes its journey.
Journey is taken to a personal, microcosmic interpretation as Brohman explores
the journey his own life has taken in Gently Down the Stream, made of bronze and found
wooden objects in 2004. In stark contrast to the solemnity of Journey and Fear and
Faith, this piece calls to the loving capacity of human nature. There is an air of comfort
and mystery as it investigates the course that has taken place in the artists own life as
represented in boat form. The oars of this boat are arm casts taken from Michael
Brohmans own family. Attached to each ann is a found wooden object that represents a
quality of each family member. Handles of brooms, shovels and axes are symbols of
each persons character; and the end of each arm is a strong individual with loving hands.


7
The arm casts and handles are arranged like paddles around a simple elementary school
style desk chair. They radiate in a circular pattern from the seat where Brohman is the
assumed occupant. The oars formation implies a reach into the subconscious as the
desk chair is a seat of learning that compliments the nursery rhyme reference in the title,
.. .gently down the stream, merrily, merrily merrily, merrily, life is but a dream. Even
though the following lyrics are not included in the title, they are suggested. With the
notion of dream one imposes the concept of consciousness. The arms seem to fulfill sub-
conscious, fundamental needs like safety, love, belonging and self-esteem that develop
into the artists self-actualization. The oars continually shape his behavior; and growth
forces the vessel in potential upward movement, rather than linear progression. The need
for safety or security found in his family ranks above all other desires; the properly
functioning support system created by the surrounding arms, tends to provide security to
the desk chair. They surround it as a barrier between the seated and the unknown reaches
surrounding the sculpture. Within the boundary of arms, there is a sense of community or
affiliation. Humans want to belong to groups, to feel loved by others, and to be accepted
by others. We also need to be needed. In the absence of these elements, the sculpture
would consist of a solitary chair susceptible to loneliness. Conversely, without the desk
chair, the oars would have no foundation or point of power. The rower, student, or artist
activates the handles. The combined arm casts of family members become enduring
motivations or drivers of behavior. There is a feeling of peacefulness as what a man can
be, he must be. Michael Brohmans chair in life is a seat in a journey of self-discovery as
an artist. He uses the strength of his family to navigate through the waters of life that are
..but a dream. The dream is the tension created between potential and reality;


8
subconscious and conscious. The family has acted as a stronghold or force to impel him
along his lifes journey as guiding forces. Through them, he has learned to know himself.
Fall and Rise in bronze from 2003, is about the journey that art takes. It starts
with the artists intellectual interpretation of his interaction with environment and
continues on to the viewers witnessing and understanding of the relationship between
body and space. The sculpture is a full-body cast of the artist with the exception of arms
or a head, set on its side atop a large, white cubic base. The body form is elongated with
a cast of the artists chest and upper ribcage is superimposed on the upper half of the
body.
Bronze casting is integral to Brohmans work, particularly because it is a form of
self-preservation. The ability to capture his own physical state coincides with his interest
in the passage of time and its effects. The body allows an individual to encounter sensory
experiences within the milieu of time. A complex of external factors acts on a system of
physicality and determines its course and form of existence. The artist is able to virtually
extract a piece from the course of his own existence by casting his body at a specific
moment, thereby preserving the aesthetic properties of his corporality through bronze.
These properties are, by definition, cognitively unknowable in the absence of direct
experience of them. As a result, they are also incommunicable other than a literal
duplication of the bodys surface through an artwork. The journey starts with Brohmans
own interpretation of sensation through his body and this sensory experience is
disseminated by creating a sculpture for the viewer to consider his or her own physicality
within time.


9
It is important to consider that although the piece is a cast of the lower body and
chest, the conjunction of the casts manipulates the form into being supernatural, in that it
is not how the artists body appears in complete natural form. As the viewers eye moves
from the feet to the upper chest, there is one cohesive, anatomically accurate form.
However, at the pectoral region, a secondary cast begins consisting of the ribcage, chest,
and collarbone. This is a succession of physical relevance and acts as a visual metaphor.
The chest is the seat of vital organs such as the heart and lungs. The heart has long been
used as a symbol to refer to the spiritual, emotional, moral and the core of a human being.
The heart is used poetically to refer to the soul, and stylized depictions of hearts are
extremely prevalent symbols that represent love and seem to imply the soul. In this
context, the chest is a symbol of an individuals inner essence from which he has the
ability to feel. By extending his body with a secondary cast of the chest, Brohman
emphasizes the part of his body that is responsible for feeling. The heart and soul account
for metaphysical sensations like emotion.
The journey of this sculpture is multifaceted. It starts with the cast that essentially
functions as evidence of the artists physical state that is unique to his place in time. This
stage of the journey focuses on sensory perception at a strictly scientific/psychological
level. Then, the form evolves as it becomes more than just a record of time in space and
is transformed. The original basis is heightened with a secondary cast as an observation
of perception at the emotional level, by focusing on and emphasizing the chest area. Then
the sculpture occupies its own place both physically and emotionally for the artist. The
piece occupies space in his studio, space in his thought, and space in his emotions. It
existed in conjunction with the artists own perceptions. While working with it, Brohman


10
got extremely frustrated because it existed in an unwavering, unsatisfying space in his
reality as an upright piece. In a state of anger, he pushed the sculpture over. After
looking at the piece lying on its side, Brohmans perceptions were also readjusted and the
piece looked complete. At the climax of trying to interpret and visualize physical and
emotional perception through his work, an intervening motivation, outside of himself
caused both the sculpture and Brohman to change. Suddenly, he was pleased with the
sculpture after it landed on its side and chose to display it as such. It was at the point
where artist and sculpture interacted not as creator and product, but as equals that the art
object gained enough power to be complete. The artist and sculpture became equal in the
sense that the art object had as much power over the artist as his existing human
conditions. Once they came into cathartic, violent contact, Brohman came to a renewed
understanding of his creations. Even if they have the ability to materialize intense
intellectual sorting, at base, it is still just mass. It is in the process of journey that art
evolves, just like people, into something unequivocally subject to external forces.


11
Identity
The body is a dominant artistic theme for Brohman. Human physicality,
vulnerability and repression call to mind questions of constructions such as gendered
identity and sexuality. Each sculpture included in this chapter corresponds with the
French theorist Julia Kristeva when she wrote that abjection is, what disturbs identity,
system, order. What does not respect borders, positions, rules. The in-between, the
ambiguous, the composite.2 Brohmans own intrigue into the world of identity reveals a
world that contains no absolutes. This collapse of meaning is brought on by either the
casting of gender signifiers or by the replicated metamorphoses of the human form. It is
an oppositional practice to foreground the repressed understandings of gender and
sexuality. Challenging classical representations of human figure, Brohman scrutinizes
the bodys physical and metaphysical nature by presenting it in abject, grotesque,
fragmented and damaged states. He develops a less formulaic and didactic approach to
difference and is able to unearth societal norms in regard to procreation and parenting in
the homosexual realm. The exposure of the other, the repressed, the ignored, or even the
condemned, calls into questions the unwritten, unspoken laws that uphold human
behavior and routine throughout society.
Dirty Underw ear from 2002, is a series of bronze cast underwear that transcends
physical boundaries and inverts appropriated standards of gender and hygiene. The casts
are arranged evenly spaced on a wall, like a catalogue of differences and similarities.
The size of the underwear ranges from little boys to mens XXL. There are different
styles and types, but the underlying phallus that was used for all of the casts is the same.
2 Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. (New York, Columbia University Press, 1982),
p. 4.


12
These casts were made from clothing whose purpose is specific. One of the criteria for
these garments not to be suitable as outer clothing may be that they have a fly that avoids
exposure of the skin just by an overlap of cloth, without buttons or zippers. Because they
are designed to be worn under clothing, and unseen by the public, underwear is a very
personal garment. Wearing and changing underwear permits outerwear to be worn
repeatedly without needing to be cleaned. This suggests underwear as a metaphor for the
nastiness or impurity of the condition of being human. Thus, Dirty Underwear supposes
the sullying of these garments through bodily secretion. Just as excretion is not unique to
an individual, and is not part of that individual, neither are social standards of gender
necessarily definitive.
Somehow the underwear stands as a signifier of locker room machismo. As an
attitude, machismo ranges from a personal sense of virility to a more extreme sense of
masculinity. This identity is sometimes sought through the pursuit of sports and
athleticism. Brohman was inspired to work with underwear upon the rediscovery of his
own high school jockstrap on a visit back home and while working as a locker room
attendant at the gym in college. Everyday his routine included opening up the various
rooms and sitting at a table just outside the mens locker room. He was in charge of
handing out clean towels and jockstraps and collecting the dirty ones. Day in and day
out, men would use the jockstraps and dirty them systematically. There was only one
jockstrap size. Its purpose was purely a functional uniform. As in the case of a jockstrap
one size fits all; similarly, peoples gender roles may be defined as the kinds of activities
that society determines to be appropriate for individuals possessing their kind of external


13
genitalia. It is a uniform that establishes masculinity, but there is a sense of
defenselessness in the exposure of such an intimate, personal object.
When cast in bronze sculpture form, this everyday mundane item is elevated and
its impact as a signifier of what is male becomes apparent. Though the age or size
implied by the underwear suggests differences in its wearer, there is a commonality in
this most private item of clothing. The underlying penis form does not vary according to
the identity implied by the style of underwear; consequently, signifiers of the stages of
masculinity do not bind the essence of man in this instillation. The special attention paid
to underwear by casting it in bronze, is a methodical orientation to everyday life as most
men wear underwear day in and day out. Brohman is able to present the quandary of how
individuals, in this case male, define themselves on a daily basis. These casts of
underwear are exclusively male objects, unique to the artists culture.
The varying underpants imply a coming of age scenario starting with boyhood
Underoos and ending with the briefs of a fat old man. They are not placed in
succession according to age. Rather, the differing ages implied by the underwear are
placed according to the artists aesthetic decisions overall. The fact that they are not
arranged in sequential or age progression implies that societies notion of boy vs. man or
rite of passage is inconsequential. The coming of age is a young persons formal
transition from adolescence to adulthood. The age at which this transition takes places
varies in society and culture, as does the nature of the transition. In the past, and in some
societies today, such a change is associated with the age of sexual maturity, brought
about by a maturing of the reproductive organs. The reproductive organ underlying each
piece is that of a sexually mature man, therefore the artists view of sexual identity seems


14
to be independent of social nonns or expectations. Underwear is the last barrier before
nudity, and thus it acts as a sort of gatekeeper to sex. Briefs hold the users genitals in a
relatively fixed position. This fact makes briefs a theoretical security system to all that is
expressly male: The reproductive organ. By putting this security system, gatekeeper, or
protection, on display, Brohman invites the viewer to question what is being protected.
How perhaps, does the ridiculousness, embarrassment or humor implied by underwear
relate to notions of the sex organ defining the persons identity?
Go Ahead and Stare in bronze from 2002, is a cast of the artists torso at the peak
of his youthful physicality. At the base of the bronze cast torso, two penises are
intertwined. The title invites the viewer to partake in the same action as the homogeneous
form. Staring is a removed, indirect action and is the parallel to desire because there is no
direct contact or end in the process. The title also challenges the viewer to let the
sculpture force itself on their attention and allow the artist to assert his sexuality. By
creating a coil of undifferentiated tissue that strives to complete itself, the sculpture acts
as both desire and the abject brought to light.
According to Brohman, viewers often give a reaction of surprise or disgust upon
seeing the intermingled male organs. Perhaps this is because it leads to a threatened
breakdown in meaning caused by the loss of the distinction between subject and object or
between self and other. Brohmans sculpture suggests that we are not even in control of
our own desires since those desires are themselves as separated from our actual bodily
needs as the representational phallus here is separated from an actual biological penis.
The distinctions between self and other become blurred in this sculpture, as there
are two penises that create a singular part or appendage. The combination thus at once


15
represents the threat that meaning is breaking down. A heterosexual foundation of
meaning assigns sexual completion or fulfillment through the meeting of male and female
by engaging in coitus or sexual intercourse. However here, sexual completion is
achieved through the union of self i.e. embracing duplicates of the same penis. The
basic meaning that is expected by an established, conventional paradigm form of
sexuality for animals is copulation; conceivably the means to meet the end result of
reproduction. The absolute form of sexuality in this case is masturbation or by means
other than sexual intercourse. This represents an internal fulfillment independent of the
opposite sex and constitutes our reaction to such a breakdown: a reestablishment of our
original repression. The masturbatory nature of the work is a force for the attempt of a
complete, satisfying love for and of the self. The piece disturbs identity, system, and
order because it does not respect borders, positions, or rules. In his creation of an ideal
version of the self, Brohman gives unspoken impetus to the creation of egotistic desire in
the fully developed subject and the value of a function vanishes. In a primal sense, it is
the reproductive potential of a species and its relative capacity to reproduce itself that
give the penis value in its function.
The driving force behind this sculpture is desire. Desire is a wonton state. Here,
the appendage created by interlocked penises seems almost complete as the two are
caught in a state of both yearning and embrace. Here, value is not found in the function
of the penis, because is potential is ad infinitum. Desires therefore necessarily rely on
lack, since the fantastic being simulated in bronze, by definition, does not correspond to
anything in the real. The object of desire established by coordinates within the landscape
of self for our own desire. At the heart of desire (as represented by the dual phallus) is


16
misrecognition of fullness where there is really nothing but an art object for the sculptors
contemplation or admiration of his own body or self-projections. It is that lack at the
heart of desire that ensures a perpetual helix. The torso leans back. There are no arms or
hands. It is as if the bronze cast torso of the man is wary to come too close to the object
of desire (the two penises). A lack of arms or hands puts the torso in a compromising
position, the inclusion of capable limbs would threaten to uncover the lack that is, in fact,
necessary for desire to persist. Go ahead and stare is a sculpture through which
Brohman ultimately is most interested not in fully attaining the object of desire but in
keeping our distance, thus allowing desire to persist. Because desire is articulated
through fantasy, it is driven to some extent by its own impossibility.
Cicada in bronze from 2003, addresses the artists evolution or rebirth through
sexual identity. The cast is a fusion of infant and man, as the cast of the artist emerges
from a baby; it has hands growing directly from the shoulders. Here Brohman portrays
himself as a virtual cicada, which is a harmless animal; they neither bite nor sting and are
not poisonous. Cicadas display a unique combination of long life cycles, periodicity, and
mass emergences. He remembers them from his childhood in the Midwest. Every
seventeen years they emerge from underground in the summertime and emit a resonating
humming sound and then from their orange bodies, they shed their translucent shells.
This piece is a visual metaphor for the shedding of an old exoskeleton like the Cicada.
However, the artist is shedding infant skin to become his self as an individual. Like the
cicada, the artist has experienced his own resurfacing, emergences, shedding, and activity
as a participant in the hum of creativity. It was produced at a time when the artist was
coming into his own skin in dealing with homosexual orientation and how that affected


17
his identity. However enlightening or liberating this self-realization was in the end,
through the visual representation of Brohmans process of sexual identity, the viewer is
left with a grotesque body in a state of struggle.
The grotesque body is a body in the act of becoming. It is never finished, never
completed; it is continually built, created and builds and creates another body. This is
why the essential role belongs to the cast of Brohmans torso which outgrows its own
infantile self, transgressing its own body, in which it conceives a new, second body.
These two areas play the leading role in the grotesque image, and it is precisely for this
reason that they are predominantly subject to positive exaggeration. The hyperbolic
function of the sculptures physical oddity levitates the concept of birth and renewal so
much that it can even detach both the infant and man form from the expected perception
of human body and lead to an independent life. The two pieces demonstrate a cycle of
rebirth and growth that stems from a strong sense of identity. The full-grown cast and
infant cast have a common characteristic; it is within them that the confines between
bodies and between the body and world are overcome: there is an interchange and inter-
orientation. This is why the main events in the life of the grotesque body, the acts of the
bodily drama, take place in this sphere. In all these events the beginning and end of life
are closely linked and interwoven.
The infant form at the sculptures base refers to an early stage of the artists self-
development. It was taken from a generic baby form thats only purpose is to represent
the assumed physical nature of an infant, one that is undistinguishable from the
appearance of another infant. It has yet to discern itself as an individual and is dominated
by a chaotic mix of perceptions, feelings and needs. It is totally reliant and completely


18
driven by survival. However, the form begins to establish a separation within itself as it
splits open, thus creating boundaries between self and other that must be in place before
the bronze cast of contemporary Brohman can emerge. The man emerging from baby
confronts us with the artists personal archeology. The mature form attempts to release
the hold of the infinitesimal entity even before existing outside of him. It is a violent,
clumsy breaking away, with the constant risk of regression under the sway of a power as
securing as it is suffocating. The power is self-awareness that has both the ability to
grow as it has the dangerous ability to consume and result in destructive egotism.
As the cast of Brohman is bom of the newborn, he identifies his own image. The
cast represents the artist as a simplified, bounded form of the self as the eyes are closed
and hands struggle to project outwards. At once, the grotesque form simultaneously
enters into the differential system of birth and death. By the destruction of the infant and
birth of the artist, the outcome of the artists chance for survival and success in breaking
free and growing arms with which to create, is determined by perception of the world
around him so that with the intrusion of reality, materiality becomes a traumatic event. It
involves the ripping apart of the unrealized self, represented by the baby, in order for the
incomplete form of the man to emerge. The formation of the man is ghastly in its
deficiency, for although the cast is taken from a grown adult, the sculpture depicts an
excruciating struggle. Though, this struggle to grow arms and the whole of the body is
one that is necessary since the artists version of reality is built over the chaos of both the
materiality outside of himself and the chaotic impulses from within himself. It is perhaps
unavoidable that, when Brohman confronts the artificiality of object relation in reference
to his own reality, he situates himself at the place of the desire to become. That creative


19
drive establishes his identity and the sculpture becomes an indispensable life preserver
that defines him in his essence as a being speaking through art.
Don't know Nothin' Bout Birthin No Babies in bronze from 2003, has its title
taken from a line in the 1939 movie, Gone with the wind. Brohman chose to entitle the
piece from the famous scene where Prissy, the black house servant bursts into tears and
cries "Miss Scarlett, I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies." In response, Scarlett
slaps her. Although at first glance, the sculpture of the mans torso with an infant
growing out of the neck doesnt seem to have an immediate connection with the
sculptures title, there is a deep undercurrent of meaning. Just as popular American
culture in 1939 accepted the racist values of the antebellum South, todays culture readily
devalues homosexual marriage and parenting. The pre-civil rights attitude was
comfortable with the degradation of blacks and today, gay marriage and couples
adoption are not givens. It is a well-worn observation that stereotypes of the gay male
have been excluded from spheres of traditional familial intellection and re-productivity
based upon the misconceived social understanding of his body and its uses as an obstacle
to reason and morality and the faculties required for parental competence. The artists
sardonic title forces the viewer to consider what norms society has constructed and if the
notion of a gay parent gets a slap in the face by the majority. Here, Brohman uses
sarcasm as a tool to figuratively cut through his own flesh in an attempt to birth the
concept of a maternal man and a rebirth of the individual.
A baby is being bom, but not under biological laws. He emerges from the artists
cast chest or torso. As previously mentioned, this chest is a symbol of an individuals
inner essence from which he has the ability to feel. Birth is taking part in the region of


20
Brohmans body that has the ability to feel and love, although the prevailing paradigm is
that all nurturing qualities that are the foundation for a babys initial success are
inherently feminine or maternal. However, the ability to birth babies does not
necessarily entail the womans biological ability to give birth, but an ability to pass on a
new life through a strong emotional foundation. In this piece, the baby is an extension of
the spinal column where it finds basis and strength. Brohman functions as a genesis for a
new human to become. That human can signify both the offspring of Brohman or a new
version of Brohman himself.
Like Cicada, Don 't know Nothin Bout Birthin No Babies is also about the
emergence or rebirth, but this time the babys head emerges from the mans torso, rather
than the man bom from infant. The bronze cast of the baby reaches with its hands
upward from the fully matured torso. The reference to shedding is reversed to turn the
metaphor full circle: In this work, the artist grows with a new mind from his body. By
transforming his own body through this work of art, Brohman is able to find agency in
the production of an aura of self that clearly repudiates the dominant, repressive life
styles and values of his society. The newly birthed mind, as represented by the baby
form, represents an outlook that rips the former body. Notwithstanding its cultural
resistance, the infants withdrawal from the social order serves to sustain structures of
domination through personal willfulness and awakening. Ironically the baby represents a
strength that is expediential in contrast to the stagnancy of social norms. The tension
created by the struggling arms of the infant is remarkable, as it does not accept its
confinements and it tries to break free. In either interpretation of the baby as either
Brohmans child or the new mind of the artist, it emerges a beacon of enlightenment.
I


21
That notion of illumination is achieved by an acceptance for a revised definition of parent
as a loving, supportive influence regardless of sex or sexual orientation. Furthermore, the
conception of elucidation is achieved by a paradigm shift in allusion to gender roles and
social norms on the subject of homosexuality.
Pepto Bismal Pink Baby in bronze from 2003 fuses male and female identity to
create a mutant fonn. The cast torso of the artist is clearly male, however the emerging
pink limbs of the cast baby blur the sexual boundaries. Pink traditionally has female
connotations, though the beginning baby is male. It is not the pink of babys flesh; it is
an unnatural, medicinal pink like Peptobismal. The thick chalky serum is in fact a
medicine for stomach problems, including inflammation, diarrhea, nausea, indigestion,
and heartburn. All of these symptoms are relatable to inner stress or turmoil of the soul.
The title suggests that the baby may possess the same curative properties as the medicine;
in turn, putting the artists internal unrest at ease.
The baby comes forth from obscurity. It not bom from a womans womb,
therefore seems to act as genitalia. Its color further separates the baby parts from the
unpainted bronze torso, implying that this baby is entirely a symbol of the artist own
progeny as opposed to the dual nature of the baby in both Cicada and Don 7 know
Nothin Bout Birthin No Babies. Here, the torso possesses duality, as it is equally
maternal and fraternal at the same time. There is an eerie or gruesome aspect to the form
when the arch of the torsos back produces a faux swelling of the abdomen that is
intrinsically feminine or maternal. Maternity itself is arguably monstrous as it confounds
carefully produced boundaries between the mother and child and indeed life and death.
The semi pregnant man is a shape-shifter whose body itself defies limits and borders


22
throughout the period of gestation and birth. The lower belly opens to some extent,
vaginally to the imminent newborn. However, the vague references to the female birth
canal are overlaid with phallic limbs as the baby is in breech positioning (such that it will
be delivered buttocks first as opposed to the normal head first position.) It is a well-
known fact that this is a risky position in childbirth, it is better to have the head facing
outward. Perhaps the artist puts the baby is a precarious position to imply the uncertain
chances for the childs survival in its outside world constructed with ignorance to
homosexual parenting. It is evident that the sculpture visualizes the artists homosexual
paradox in regard to procreation. His impulse to have children is thwarted by external and
internal forces. Though based on a valid deduction from acceptable premises, his role in
creating life is unsolved. Is he to act as father and mother at once, therefore taking on an
entirely new sexual role? And if so, how does such binary fission manifest itself in the
tangible world? In this, and all of Brohmans casts the viewer is apt to reflect on the acts
of eating, drinking, defecation and other elimination (sweating, blowing of the nose,
sneezing), as well as copulation, dismemberment, the swallowing up by another body and
pregnancy. It is appropriate that his sculptures in the realm of sexual identity and birth
encompass the basic characteristics of all these acts because they are performed on the
confines of the body and the outer world, or on the confines of the old and new body.
Sights Unseen is a bronze cast from 2003 that places the body and experiences of
embodiment as central to Brohmans sense of being, who he supposes himself to be and
what others have attributed to him. What happens, then, when one's body becomes
humiliating due to these elements of identity interjection? How does the self handle the
implications of an interpersonal divergence represented as a gruesome body? How do


23
people manage selfhood in light of grotesque physical appearances originating from
internal ugliness? This sculpture explores these questions in the experiences of
Brohmans conflicts and seeks to better understand relationships among body, self, and
situated social interaction.
As earlier pieces have shown, the body is the empirical quintessence of the self.
Because selfhood is symbolic, embodiment represents the personification and
materialization of otherwise invisible qualities of personhood. Sights Unseen makes
visible the appalling and secretive aspects of the psyche that people so desperately try to
cover up or hide. These ghastly tendencies of human weakness are brought to the
forefront of recognition and weigh on the body like anchors. Two large greenish-blue
sacks hang from the cast torsos annpits like breasts or testicles with a multitude of
eyeballs. The subject is first impelled towards the possibility of constituting itself as
simply a cast of man at his physical peak, but in an act of revulsion, of expulsion of that
which can no longer be contained, the sights unseen surface like cancerous sacs from the
lymph area. Clusters of lymph nodes are found in the underarms and act as filters, with
an internal honeycomb of connective tissue filled with white blood cells that collect and
destroy bacteria and viruses. When the body is fighting an infection, these cells multiply
rapidly and produce a characteristic swelling of the lymph nodes. The sacs on the
sculpture are the product of infection; the symbolic infection is inner turmoil.
The artist was facing a mid-life crisis during the production of Sights Unseen
when he was facing inner turmoil and questioning. While caught in the process of
making choices such as how to deal with people in his life, what do in his career, and
how to decipher truth from reality, he created this cast as an allegory for the


24
overwhelming inner obstacles in his life. In trying to sort out the mess of others and his
own flaws, the decay collected and grew into these ugly sacs. The bulges have plastic
eyeballs imposed into the bronze. As humans we show an extreme alertness to where
others are looking. The multitude of eyes under the arms sees everything. The power of
the gaze comes from the unsightly collection of filtered shortcomings. Though we
consciously control where our own eyes hover and land, eyes have minds of their own as
well. We feel compelled to look at objects and body parts, which our brain finds
interesting or to gaze away from what it finds distasteful. The eyes in Sights Unseen
emanate from the distasteful and peer to the surrounding spaces that encompass the artist.
In response to feelings of shyness, submissiveness, and stranger anxiety, an inner voice
warns us to be careful and to watch where we look. We want to look away from the
disgusting parts of our own and others persona, but we cannot help but stare when those
flaws are exposed. In crowded places, for example, our eyes cannot roam freely across
another's faces for we might happen upon their vulnerability and see what they would
rather keep hidden. Brohman alleviates the awkward part of staring at another person by
putting the wretched traits on display. The viewer can see freely the effect of gathered
defects just as nonchalantly as they watch media faces pictured in magazines and shown
on TV. In the process, we consider the sights we would rather, but cannot keep unseen.


25
Memory
According to Sigmund Freud, our memory deals with the material of the
impressions, which impinge on us in later life by making a selection among them.3 It
retains what is of any importance and drops what is unimportant. But this is not true of
the childhood memories that have been retained, because they do not necessarily
correspond to the important experiences of childhood years, nor even to those, which
must have seemed important from the childs point of view. They are often so seemingly
commonplace and insignificant that we can only ask ourselves in bewilderment why this
particular detail has escaped forgetfulness. Perhaps there is greater value to ostensibly
inconsequential memories of our past. Even things that we dont think weve remember,
live in the recesses of oblivion and those impressions had never really been forgotten,
they were only inaccessible, latent, and had fonned part of the unconscious. In this
chapter, Brohman authorizes even the smallest memory. He uses all of the events from
his past, whether gathered from his conscious or unconscious stores to plot and record the
expanse of his uncharted, intuitive mappings.
Counting Backwards in bronze and fabric from 2004 is an acknowledgment of the
comforting nature of memory. A large quilt has a center of bronze breastplates that are
arranged like teats. Numbers corresponding to the artists age mark the progression of
years in his life. The quilt symbolizes security and memory; elements that are kept pulled
together by threads and patterns of history as lived by the self. Metaphors of fabric
3 Sigmund Freud, Introductory Lectures on Psycho-analysis. (New York, W.W. Norton & Compan;y, Inc.,
1966), p.248.


26
construction abound: "the fabric of our lives," for example, and "whole cloth" and
"weaving a tale of woe." Here, the quilt signifies the memory of the past and a provider
of warmth. Conventionally, leftovers of cloth became quilts and there were no unused
scraps, nothing went to waste. Like memory, the quilt is a collective of every experience.
The scraps represent the subliminal fragments of memory that once gathered, create a
beautiful patchwork of color and character. The memories that seem significant use up
whole pieces of cloth, but it is the fleeting glimpses of the past that become resplendent
once recognized, for they are the tokens of the what went before. If art is the lie that
reveals the truth, then the term "fabrication" provides an appropriate segue to the use of
the quilt motif as the visual and theoretical foundation for memory.
The notion of warmth, comfort, and nurture is furthered by Brohmans inclusion
of teats. His own chest, when compiled in multiplicity, looks like the underbelly of a
mammal that is nursing. He is fostered by every preceding year in his own life. His
memories and personal history act as the sum of environmental influences and conditions
that have helped him grow or develop. He draws sustenance from the past. A very
common way of talking about these admirably definite tendencies to operate is by
naming abstractly the purpose this symbolic suckling on the past serves, such as self-
preservation. Brohmans physical veneer is preserved literally in the bronze casting, his
age is upheld by the marking of numbers, and his self is preserved by reflection of earlier
times. A single complex instinctive action, such as nursing, may involve successively the
awakening of impulses of all ideas, perceptions, and sensations. Thus we may be sure
that, however mysterious Counting Backw ards may appear at first, it is memory and
instincts that speak not only of the artist, but to every human which obeys the laws of


27
personal survival from drawing on the past. Every impulse and every step of every
instinct shines with its own sufficient light, end seems at the moment the only eternally
right and proper thing to do. It is done for its own sake exclusively.
Cataloged Chickadees was made from bronze and steel in 2004. The forms on the
steel shelving itemize each year of the artists life. The chickadee is a plucked chicken
with the head of an infant. There are 37 figures, each with its own personality. The
character expressed by the figure represents the artist at that age. Each looks like a fetus
or an infant that is grotesquely abnonnal. A debilitating aspect to the chickadees
anatomy is that there are no feathers on these strange, endearing monsters. They are
unable to fly and seem to be in a perpetual state of malformation.
With feeble limbs and closed eyes, the chickadees are memories or impressions of
the past. Perhaps these are symbols of the artists character that may have personified
him at one point, but never matured into his present person. Each feeble creature is
associated with certain beginning phases of consciousness, which occurred before the
movements of the muscles to produce art were affected by that activity. So the chickadee,
in learning to walk, stretching its arms, or attempting to move is on the brink of
realization in the initiation of the awakening urge. Before these impulses mature into
physical exertion of the artists consciousness, the chickadee forms stay on the shelf of
Brohmans psyche. So, he soon learns that the perception allied with the activity of the
struggling chickadee is associated with impending personal and/or artistic movements
that have not been realized until now. Ultimately, the notice of choices in each year of his
life is associated with the activity of the primary impulses from the mental and emotional
centers to physicality and the requirement to initiate functionality at present.


28
Eyelids closed. Jaws clench shut and opens to yawn. Stretching swallowing, the
head lifts in curiosity. Arm straightens; back arches, and counterclockwise twists thrust
an elbow toward the ceiling. The movements made by an unspecified figure, confined in
a small shelf are confined to the past: creatures forever in the state of becoming. A sense
of compassion or pity befalls the viewer as the symbolic remnants of the artists mind
reach and call for actualization. We want to release these sweet, fetal creatures from their
continuous struggle, but realize that their release has been found in their creation; for the
present conscious mind of their creator is the maturity of the chickadee in the mind of the
artist. The successive body motions quickly take on an air of surrealism as the artist poses
the question of what it would mean to be aware of every physical motion one makes. The
more observed and detailed the sculptural form, the more absurd the attempt to translate
body motion begins to seem. Faced with a welter of ceaseless and simultaneous
movements, the mind censors out a fraction of these movements and subjects the rest to
increasing interpretation. The factual account of the artists personal history thus
becomes more and more idiosyncratic, and what Catalogued Chickadees celebrates with
perverse charm is the victory of mind over matter, and the inability to convey what we
call body language except through bronze casting.
Possums in bronze from 2003 is a recollection of childhood. Brohman
remembers Indiana summers. He and his siblings had a yearly ritual of going to see the
dead baby possums in the road. Every year some of the babies would fall from the trees
and get run over by cars. The sight captured his allure as a boy and in this piece; he
recreates the memory, on a severe level. Bronze baby casts are flattened like the baby
possums in the road as the bronze cast head of Brohman watches at floor level.


29
In recounting the sight, Brohman laughs. It is his gruesome humor that allows the
artist to survive. However, in dark humor most of the wit comes from shock and
revulsion; it includes an element of irony, or even fatalism. To him this macabre interest
in the possums is unique to his childhood and in turn, special to his view on life. It
shatters any sense of self-importance or ego to look at a human life on the same level as a
possum. The view that the future is unavoidable therefore, that human deliberation and
actions are pointless because things have to be the way they have to be. This piece evens
the playing field between human and animal; life and death. Thismust be treated with a
heightened sense of humor or else the impact of smashed infants will consume the viewer
with tragedy. Today death is totally denied. The body is put away in a sealed casket and
we have little or no connection with the decay and reality of it. It is our denial of death
that makes it so terribly sad. By bringing death into the realm of humor, Brohman
emphasizes its stunning necessity.
This is one of those memories that is remembered, but its significance is not
readily knowable. The sight of possums on the road was obviously very important to
Brohman and his siblings as children, but why? Perhaps he remembers the dead baby
possums because this image was an early lesson in the cycles of life and death. The dead
baby represents both the beginning and ending of life simultaneously. A baby represents
the fresh new beginnings of life, but when seen in death, it also represents the death and
decomposition that inevitably accompanies birth. We cannot have one without the other:
new babies, whether possum or human, cannot be without death. In todays world,
humans put themselves on such a false pedestal in our separation from death and nature.
In reality we are governed by the same forces as any animal.


30
Possums is a visual story about truth, beauty, death, the hereafter, and rebirth. Its
unforgiving nature touches the viewers heart, and at the same time tantalizes our minds
with hints of fate. Brohman creates the work in a space where the greatest forces that
dictate the real are exerting themselves with equal force. We too are part of the endless
cycle of nature, however much we try to put ourselves outside it. Humankind has
attempted to explain why the planet it inhabits possesses a particular pattern of existence,
and then treated that pattern in regard to its own psyche. In a sense, human existence is a
continuous self-renewing cycle, we are all a part of dying and rising, echoing every living
thing in nature and the cycle will continue as long as we are here. Just like every
summer, Brohman witnessed a fresh batch of dead baby possums, every beginning has an
end and while some survive for a long time, others die shortly after they are bom.
Me and My Shadow was made from bronze and steel in 2004. At the end of a
chain-linked ladder, a bronze baby without arms is connected to its equal at the shoulder.
The chain and the ladder are very important symbols in Brohmans work as they are
metaphors for the linkage of past to present. This exploration as seen in Me and My
Shadow is best described by Carl Jung when he said,
It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not
just of little weaknesses- and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism. The
individual seldom knows anything of this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible
that he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself. But let these
harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster; and each
individual is only one tiny cell in the monster's body, so that for better or worse he
must accompany it on its bloody rampages and even assist it to the utmost.
Having a dark suspicion of these grim possibilities, man turns a blind eye to the
shadow-side of human nature. Blindly he strives against the salutary dogma of


31
original sin, which is yet so prodigiously true. Yes, he even hesitates to admit the
conflict of which he is so painfully aware.4
The shadow baby is not a monster in the usual sense. But it is frightening as a
dormant, looming presence. Both the self and the shadow are blindly striving against
the salutary dogma of original sin. The original sin that Jung refers to might be the
human compliance to oppressive doctrines without question. If not for the half or the
me that is linked to the chain ladder, there would be no possibility for salvation from
convention. The baby between the shadow baby and the chain seems to represent the
artists soul or essence. Soul has its origins before us as communicated by the chain and,
perhaps, continues after us. This chain is used to descend into the depths of the past or
memory. As previously mentioned, memory accounts for Brohmans ability to sustain
his identity. He ventures back into the shadows of the past and moves forward with the
infinite refinement of the ladder structure. It is an exploration of where he has come from
and where to go next. His past/future falls upon his (the bronze babys) ankle; hence it is
impossible to escape from the past. At the same time, he is not tangled in its mess, but
connected to its extension into what will be. The baby and its shadow are a part of it, not
afraid of it.
While the chain is a positive part to the piece, the shadow is a collection of
inferiorities, undeveloped, and regressive aspects of the personality. It is an infant
without arms. The closed eyes of the baby connected to the one representing Brohman
have an emotional nature and a kind of dependant sovereignty, displaying a possessive
quality upon the me. Unconsciously the me or the artist invests the accompanying
4 Carl Jung "The Psychology of the Child Archetype" Part I: The Archetypes and the Collective
Unconscious (New York, Princeton University Press, 1940), p. 291.


32
shadow or person with notions or characteristics of his own. The other half to Brohmans
psychic Siamese twin form is one in which the alternate side of his self is brought to
light. Without acknowledging his shadow, Brohman could not progress along the chain.
On one end there is the shadow of the past, and on the other, the chain ladder leading to
the future. However the baby in between shadow and future, (the me, the artist,
Brohman) lies on its back with its eyes closed. Brohman has seemingly captured the
moment in which he is caught between regression and progression.
A Fragment of Her Former Self'm bronze from 2001 is a moment in time that the
artist has chosen to venerate. The moment, in which his grandmother died, her body
became a mere shell of the former being. The sculpture is an emaciated, naked figure
without arms or a head. It lays in a crumpled, motionless position- the same position his
grandmother was in when she was found lying dead beside her kitchen table. According
to Brohman, she died while having tea. A neighborhood boy found her body and the
ambulance arrived to collect her remains. The thought that to the paramedics, this was
just some old lady who had passed away tugged at the artists mind. There is no way that
those who witnessed her dead could know the woman she was in life. Just as the
sculpture is not his grandmother, neither was her body. Her body was simply a vessel for
her lifes journey. Just as we tend to assume that the world is as we see it, we naively
suppose that people are as we imagine them to be. The latter situation is usually our mark
for knowing a person, even though the possibility of deception is substantially greater
here than in our perception of the physical world. However, we still go on forthrightly
projecting our own psychology into our fellow human beings. In this way everyone
creates a series of more or less imaginary relationships for himself, based for all intents


33
and purposes on projection. The body without the soul is only evidence of a truth that
will never be known. Brohmans grandmothers former self was only a fragment of her
true being, just as peoples perception is a fragment of her true self post mortem.
It is significant that the head and arms are missing. In her life, the head and arms
were integral in thinking and acting. In death, her every thought, every memory, and
every act ceases and is no longer a participant of the live world. The living can only
guess at what her thought and acts in life truly meant. As tragic as this piece seems, it
proffers food for thought about the tragic state of each individuals projection of self.
Does it take death to realize that like the body, others estimated concepts of our identity
are only a fragment of what makes us real? Brohman gives the viewer a point of
reflection to consider how our own identity is brought into being in life.
Silent Memories was made from bronze, wooden shelving, canned goods, fruit,
insects, and wax, in 2004 and embodies an arrest of time. Like A Fragment of Her
Former Self, it is a tribute to Brohmans grandmother. He remembers that after her
death, he and his family went to clean out her home. When he went to the basement,
Brohman found that she left behind canned goods that had been preserved for years. The
objects relating to his grandmothers domestic activities lived on after her. Those jars of
fruit represent a time in his grandmothers life that was preserved, yet remains a mystery.
He will never know the whole story of her hopes, dreams and fears. The piece is an
attempt to pay homage to a life full of stories that, like the preserves, are bottled
mysteries that can only be observed from a removed perspective.
In dealing with his grandmother's femininity and domesticity, it is evident that


34
home is not an object or a building, but a diffuse and complex condition that integrates
memories and images, desires and fears, the past and the present. The items of the
instillation are also a set of rituals, personal rhythms and routines of everyday life. An
understanding of Brohmans connection to his grandmother cannot be produced all at
once; it has its time dimension and continuum and is a gradual product of the family's and
individual's adaptation to the world. In the process cleaning the grandmothers basement
to sell it, the artist discovered a treasure trove of matrilineal substantiation, thus, a home
cannot, become a marketable product. It was the house that would be sold after his
grandmother's death, not her home. Her home was the daily activities and tenderness of
motherhood that manifested itself in the canning of fruit and preserves. Like those goods,
the memory of grandmother, along with all of her secrets is sweet. Silent Memories takes
us away from the physical properties of a house into the psychic territory of the mind.
Reflection on the essence of her home engages us with issues of identity and memory,
consciousness and the unconscious, biologically motivated behavioral remnants as well
as culturally conditioned reactions and values. The shelved products suddenly and
simultaneously awaken all the warmth, protection and love of Brohman's entire
childhood and his relationship with his grandmother. But, the memory of his grandmother
is also stunted like the bronze baby forms because there are so many secrets about her
inner essence that he can never know. The shelving constitutes a body of images that give
Brohman proofs or illusions of stability, and, it is an instrument with which he can
confront the past. This instillation is about the home, a house filled by the grandmother
with the essence of personal life: a collection and concretization of personal images of
protection, preservation and intimacy that help us recognize and remember who we are


35
and where we come from. The jars, the cans, and the bronze babies are a staging of
personal memory. It functions as a dual mediator- personal space expresses the
personality of his grandmother's remaining memory to the outside world, but, equally
important, it strengthens the artist/dewller's self-image and consecrates his world order.
Silent Memories is also a mediator between intimacy and public life: personal memories
and others memories.


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Religion
Brohman has found a realm of meaning through the exploration of his religious
upbringing. He was raised in the Roman Catholic faith. Although he does not label
himself a Catholic today, his knowledge of Christianity has served as a theological basis
for his further discoveries. In this chapter, sculptures and instillations provide the viewer
with a layered view of Judeo-Christian religion. Brohman admits that even though he is
not a practicing Catholic today, if it were not for this foundation, he would have nothing
to question. His art works that fall under the theme of religion are a series of
philosophical and theological questions that the artist tries to solve physically and
visually.
Laws of Man/ Laws of God consists of bronze, wood, and steel and was made in
2004. It questions Gods accessibility to man in Catholicism as visualized in
Michelangelos Creation of Adam from the ceiling fresco of the Sistine Chapel. Before
the viewer can fully comprehend Laws of Man/ Laws of God they are wont to consider
the meaning of its Michelangelesque inspiration. It is possibly the most familiar scene in
Catholic Renaissance art. The scene does not show the physical molding of Adams
body, but the passage of the Divine spark, or the soul. The earth-bound Adam and the
figure of God hurling through the sky achieves a dramatic juxtaposition. Adam strains
not only toward his Creator but also toward Eve, whom he sees, yet unborn, in the shelter
of the Lords left arm. Adams epic body and pose mirror those of God, in whose image
he was created. In the scene, the hands of God and Adam never touch.


37
In his installation, Brohman focuses on the tension created by the distance of man
to God. He attaches bronze casts of his hands to wooden poles and positions them in a
state of heightened apprehension: The assumed hand of God hovers above that of man.
The lower wooden pole connected to the hand of man is weighed down with chains.
These chains serve as a visual metaphor of our link to the conformity of religion and as a
restriction from spiritual intimacy. Religion, like psychology, can produce only models of
a reality; the infinite reaches of which cannot be adequately measured. To codify or to
define mans relationship to God as permanently and finally expressed, as in the Sistine
Chapel, is to diminish the mystery. Alternatively, to Brohman, the relationship between
human and the divine cannot be expressed once and for all or once completely. It is a
multifaceted unknowable thing.
Traditionally, the Catholic faith finds revelation as located in the Bible, or in the
virtuosity of commissioned art thus limiting the limitless. By using Michelangelos work
as a point of reference to the comprehension of the divine, Brohman unleashes the
limitless by employing space in his work. This space comes to us in every form of
existence, is not confined to religious understanding, and is directed to us in a personal
way. The instillation is not a book to read or a painting to look at, but a limitless
expansion of human consciousness.
Brohman admits that it would make life easier to just believe in God, but he feels
that there is not sufficient evidence. From an analytical standpoint, Brohmans
exploration of God through Christian mythology like The Creation of Adam might lead to
a Jungian approach to religion. Jung also referred to the highest value and dominant


38
element in the psyche as the God image and emphasized that it is immediately related to,
or even identical to, the self archetype.5 Jung reflected on motifs in the history of religion
and mythology which led him to believe that the God image is a universal phenomenon.5
Archetypes are evolving, like understandings of religion, consciousness, and ideas about
God. We limit the evolutionary nature of human development when we imagine that
revelation is closed like in the traditional imagery commissioned by the Catholic Church.
Laws of Man/ Laws of God is alive in every way that we are. It walks to us on
every avenue of understanding of anything: human, divine, or natural. As the viewer
interacts with the suspended beams and bronze cast hands, the source of this knowledge
emerges from within our consciousness not from elsewhere on to it. The casts of the
artists hands contain the wisdom of an inner essence or spirit. The interface happens in
continuity and contact with our interior life as opposed to a projected ideal. Laws of
Man/ Laws of God is inner, personal wisdom in dealing with questions of accessibility to
a higher power that has found its way into external signs and messages. This piece is an
encounter with the inner images that arise from the unconscious and reflect higher
consciousness, i.e., a higher power, even if it does not fall under the traditional concept of
God. The fact that the human psyche could be a mediator of the divine does not make
Brohmans interpretation anymore unreal than two hands reaching to clasp one another in
the dark. In fact, attachment to orthodoxy as seen in the limited and inaccessible account
of Gods relationship to man in Michelangelos work, can prevent access to a unique
discovery of divine life in the personal psyche.
5 Carl Jung, ThcCollected Works. (New York, Princeton University Press, 1953-79), p. 96.


39
Even though Brohman does not take his upbringing with Catholicism as ultimate
truth, enduring religious doctrines contain a powerful and archetypal essence of truth.
They reveal the larger life of the psyche and how it evolves toward individuation and
enlightenment. If faith becomes tied to one time or culture as seen with Brohmans
representation of chains that weigh the arm of Earth bound Adam, or if it becomes fear-
based, spirituality loses its lively energy. Thus, subscription to time, culture, and fear
creates the space between God and man. Blind belief without question is how we lose
the wonderful riches that can be found in the broader understandings or interpretations of
religious doctrine. Perhaps there are multiple and illimitable appearances of a god to a
human or a divine manifestation in accord with the multiple capacities and multiple
avenues of accessibility in the self. Insofar that revelation is contact with that deepest
level of our psyche where archetypal wisdom rests; a higher power might not be
embraced with an outstretched hand but rather through introspection. Laws of Man/ Laws
of God is not a message from above or beyond but wells up from deep within, Brohmans
own personal psyche. It is a three dimensional sculpture that rises rather than a two
dimensional fresco that falls upon us. The equivalent of Michael Brohmans work is
space that is inherent in all reality, whereas the equivalent of Michelangelos work is
imagery that cannot be entered and is viewed from below.
When rituals and beliefs are taken literally, like quoting the bible at face value,
they lose their meaning as inner events. Dropping literalism in favor of mythic, that is,
archetypal meanings, is the central task Brohmans transition from childhood belief to
adult faith. How? By finding continuity with his religious past not in its literal forms but
in the experiential meaning that underlies it. Through his work, Brohman takes the


40
biblical imagery as seen in the Sistine Chapel and then applies it to every individual by
allowing the viewer to interact with the space he has created. Our projections about it are
the contents of our own fully realized psyches. For instance, we are meant to confront
our own beliefs as to if there is a God and if so, is that God within our reach? As we
move through the work, the idea of a higher power transitions from limitation to
limitlessness. Incarnation, love, temptation, exile from ego, and descent: all the
experiences of Adam make up the story of the Self.
Since we perceive through limited senses we are innately unable to see the full
extent and meaning of the divine and that accounts for the mystery in Brohmans piece.
Faith seems to be the complementary way humanity knows its own deepest reality.
Perhaps it is in the personalization, or putting ourselves in the place of Adam, that we
find religious truths as images that arise from the depths of our souls. The suspended
beams, the chains, and the cast hands describe a psychic truth that does not require a
logical or linear foundation like the neatly organized frescos on the ceiling of the Sistine
Chapel. The raw materials are the archetypal facts of life and of Brohmans vision of
himself, of nature, and of the divine.
Three sculptures: Choices, Lamb and Trinity were made in 2005, and are placed
side by side to compose one piece. Choices is made from a rams skull and wool. Lamb
is made from a lambs skull, wool, and steel. Trinity is made from a rams skull, wool,
steel, and human hair. The combination of the three to create one is in direct reference to
the doctrine of the trinity within Christianity. It states that a communion of three persons,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit coexist eternally to create God. Catholics believe


41
that he Father is the Almighty, the Son is Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is the soul. The
thought is that there is one God in three persons: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit share a
single Divine being, or nature. This piece is Brohmans exploration into that which lies
beneath as basis or foundation of the trinity and it deals directly with Brohmans
reflection on his Catholic upbringing.
It is first important to consider that Brohman employs the remains of animals to
venture into his understanding of the trinity. In Judeo-Christian religion, the lamb and
the goat are important animals in the bible. This piece explores the biblical significance
of skulls in the story of Golgotha- the common name of the spot where Jesus was
crucified. It is interpreted in the Bible as meaning the place of a skull or a place of
great suffering. The concept of the trinity or three components to a greater whole is a
genesis for the artists visual exploration of this complex. He incorporates a piece of
himself into the work by implementing his own hair in conjunction with the animal skulls
and wool.
The artists pursuit of the external is a confession of corporality; and thus by
combining parts of his body with animal remains, he is holding himself in the same
respect to things that are bom and perish. He puts himself in context to the same life
cycle of the goat or the sheep. By not counting himself more worthy or enduring than all
else he observes in a sculls decay, Brohman forms a notion of both nature and the
Trinity. The rawness of the skull calls the viewer back to their biological origins, lifted
once more towards an attempt to comprehend our place in the world of religion.


42
The wool surrounds the skulls in Choices, Lamb, and Trinity like a veil of
mystery. Brohman uses natural elements to convey the supernatural quality of the
Trinity. In this sense, the concept of a spirit is as tangible as sheeps wool or humans
hair. As in previous works, Biblical content is abstracted. The three working in unison
can be abstracted and taken to a personal archetypal understanding. In the boundaries of
Biblical reference mankind is presented with free will or choices. Then, in choosing to
follow Christ, mankind is symbolically a lamb in the flock. And lastly, through all
attempts and purposes, mankind who is able to first make choices and then become a
lamb, the acceptance of belief in the Trinity comes into play. Now, this interpretation is
from a strictly linguistic deconstruction of each components title. There is the method,
which we amply exhibit elsewhere, declaring the debasement of the skull objects which
the soul holds here in honor. The ram or sheep skull would never be displayed in the
Catholic Church, yet Brohman has given the objects sacred status. He candidly expresses
the idea of Trinity linguistically, while latently expressing the idea of soul. The use of
found animal bones or remains recalls to the soul its worth; this latter is the leading truth,
and, clearly brought out, is the evidence of the other. The elusive must occupy the
viewer post hence as it bears closely upon our enquiry, to which otherness is the natural
precursor. Here, the seeker or artist is soul and he must start from a true notion of the
nature and quality by which soul may undertake the search. Like the goat and ram, the
human is subject to the same nature that turns flesh into bones. Brohman studies his own
self and temporality in order to learn whether he has the faculty for the inquiry into the
Trinity. If the three beings as one is not relatable to nature, the search must be futile,


43
while if there is relationship between spirituality and the terrestrially bound, the solution
to Brohmans question is at once desirable and possible.
Umbilical Noose was made of cast iron, steel, wool, and human hair in 2005. It
pairs warmth and callousness at once and the materials speak of the dichotomy of God.
Lambs wool is associated with warmth and comfort. In a religious sense, it alludes to
the lamb of god. When placed in a rusted iron tub, the fluffy wool becomes something
even more precious in contrast to the cold iron. A braided strand, representing the
trinity, extends from the tub to a door hinge. Brohman is playing with the sensations of
security. In Christian mythology, God has a dual nature as he is both redemptive and
loving. An umbilical chord acts as a conduit for nutrients to an infant as the metaphorical
chord here is the channel for mans salvation. Here, the chord is the braided lambs wool
or the allegorical Trinity. However, it is also a noose that inevitably results in mans end
or the Judeo-Christian Gods punishment of man by casting him out of the Garden of
Eden. This duality is best described in the first book of Miltons Paradise lost when
Satan gives his speech after his exile from heaven.
OF MANS first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat, 5
Sing, Heavenly Muse, that, on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd who first taught the chosen seed
In the beginning how the heavens and earth
Rose out of Chaos: or, if Sion hill w
Delight thee more, and Siloas brook that flowed
Fast by the oracle of God, I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventrous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar


Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer ^
Before all temples the upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for Thou knowst; Thou from the first
Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread, 20
Dove-like satst brooding on the vast Abyss,
And madst it pregnant: what in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support;
That, to the highth of this great argument,
I may assert Eternal Providence, 25
And justify the ways of God to men.6
To justify the ways of God to men is the root of Umbilical Noose. This great
argument combats the hypocrisy of the Judeo-Christian Gods opposing traits. How
could a loving God, the kind of sympathetic consolation to mans downfalls as
symbolized in lambs wool, have such a redemptive cruelty about Him? This is a
vengeful God. It is as if by placing temptation in the face of man, the Biblical Lord had
set man up to fail. Why would God create a forbidden tree whose mortal taste would
bring death into the world? It is the scheme of God that paved the way for all our woe,
with loss of Eden. In this piece, Gods scheme is shown through the noose and man is the
prey. If God is all mighty and all knowing, then mans fate of collapse would be
foreknown. Conversely, in Christianity, mans salvation is achieved only through Gods
son. Just like Umbilical Noose, mans fate in Christianity is a sort of logical conundrum.
The very noose that threatens an unfeeling demise is the same umbilical chord leading to
an eternity of compassion. Although the trap seems to lead to a heavenly end (a basin
filled with wool), the Trinity is a tool to rope in and snare man to cast him out of Eden or
as also expressed in Miltons poem, to predict the fallen angels fate. The door hinge at
the end of the Umbilical Noose, represents mans hinging point on the playing field that
the loving/cruel God of Christianity has created.
6 John Milton, Complete Poems. (Vol. IV. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909-14;
Bartleby.com, 2001), p. 56-60.


45
Silencing the Lambs was made from bronze, wool, and steel in 2005. It is a
bronze cast of the artists head with a wool-filled bell around the neck. The image of
Brohman plays the role of the lamb with the casts white surface and black nose. Here,
the tragic state of a blind following of Christianity is depicted in the shut eyes of the man.
The sheeps bell has a specific function in that it alerts the shepherd or the metaphor for
God, to the wandering of individuals from the flock. Unfortunately, the bell is silenced
by the very wool that is meant to provide security to the animal. The bell is silent and the
man/sheep wanders aimlessly for it is as if God has created a dependant without resolve.
The lambs are silenced for as blind believers, they are powerless to be more than part of
the flock that is organized religion.
Lazarus is a bronze cast of the artists bust from 2005. The skin of the bust is
unsightly, dirty, and leprous. It is first important to consider the story of Lazarus that is
taken from the Holy Bible in Luke 16:19-31.
16:19. There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen
and feasted sumptuously every day.
16:20. And there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus, who lay at his gate, full of
sores,
16:21. Desiring to be filled with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table.
And no one did give him: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
16:22. And it came to pass that the beggar died and was carried by the angels into
Abraham's bosom. And the rich man also died: and he was buried in hell.
16:23. And lifting up his eyes when he was in torments, he saw Abraham afar off
and Lazarus in his bosom:
16:24. And he cried and said: Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send
Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water to cool my tongue: for I am
tormented in this flame
16:25. And Abraham said to him: Son, remember that thou didst receive good
things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted
and thou art tormented.
Catholic scholars now commonly accept the story as a parable. A parable is a story that
attempts to arrive at a moral message and can include any of the stories told by Jesus to


46
convey his religious message. Lazarus is known for having leprous sores. Here, Brohman
portrays himself as the outcast, the beggar. The purpose of the parable is to teach the evil
result of the unwise neglect of one's opportunities. Lazarus was rewarded, not because he
was poor, but for his virtuous acceptance of poverty; the rich man was punished, not
because he was rich, but for vicious neglect of the opportunities given him by his wealth.
This casting puts the artist in the skin of one who accepts his role in life. In spite of
deformity, or disadvantage symbolized by the rough surface skin, ultimately Lazarus
gains heavenly reward. The implementation of this Bible story seems to contradict
Brohmans views about Christianity. However, the story does not have to relate to a
religious milieu. It can simply be a parable or myth from which the artist gains personal
wisdom. To accept ones life, and everything it entails, whether it is full of fine linen and
feasts or an empty stomach and sores is a valuable lesson. The rich man archetype
alludes to the danger of taking advantage of a favorable position in life or superiority of
means. The Lazarus Archetype is a positive reminder that in the face of difficulty or
weakness, all is not lost.
Return is made of cast iron, steel and water and was made in 2004. It is a iron
cast of the artist set in a steel basin of water. The sculpture itself embodies the life and
death cycle. The form is given birth and form by the artist, and it decomposes by the rust
created by the water. Dust to dust and ashes to ashes is a phrase repeated time and time
again in the Catholic mass. This saying means that man comes from the Earth or dust
and will return to it after their death. As the metal sculpture fatefully falls subject to the
rusting process, Return captures this life and death progression.


47
The imagery of man immersed in water also conjures ideas or feelings about
baptism. It is a ceremonial water purification ritual practiced in Catholicism, in which a
person is plunged entirely into the water, so that the water closes over it. It is a process
that means to dip, bathe, or wash. The act is traditionally meant to allow a person to be
delivered from original sin, death, and the devil and to enter into the Christian faith.
Return for Brohman is not an entrance into Christianity, but it is an entry into the
progression of time.
The iron casting process presented him with difficulty. The form turned out
misshapen due to mistakes made by the iron caster. In the end, Brohman admits that this
adds to the piece. Return is not purification or a release from sin, but it is acceptance of
the natural course of life. It is carnal knowledge that our bodies are mere vessels and are
not independent of decay. The sculpture is a return to an instinctive knowing.


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Mind
The mind is the point in the body in which personality, thought, reason, memory,
intelligence and emotion function. This chapter explores how it is also the seat of the
sadistic and responsive tendencies. With regard to living things, a body is the integral
physical material of an individual, and contrasts with soul, personality and behavior. In
Brohmans work the mind-body relationship calls into question the act of creating and the
essence of physicality. In some contexts, a superficial element of a body, such as hair
may be regarded as not a part of it, even while attached. However, people become
horror-struck at the thought of human bones. Are not bones, hair, flesh, and bodily fluid
owned by nature and not by mind? Brohman ventures to assert that our remains are no
more representative of who we are than any element of our physicality and that our soul
or essence is not defined in the tangible world.
Reliquary#! was made of cast iron, human skull, bees wax, and cicada shell in
2004/2005. it is a complex work dealing with the artists thought process. A human skull
was placed into a cast of Brohmans bust. A stick of beeswax where a Cicada shell is
placed extends from the chest and a crown of melted beeswax encircles the skull. The
cast opens up to reveal real human bones. The skull is obviously not the artists and is
anonymous. There is controversy in regard to the obtaining of medical specimens such
as this skull. Bones found on the black market have questionable history regarding the
means of obtaining such objects. Arguments about grave robbery and disrespect to the
dead have arisen. Brohmans own philosophy is that once an individual is dead, their


49
earthly remains no longer have significance, therefore the bones origin is of no particular
consequence. He views the body as merely a vessel for the soul and believes that society
places more importance on physical essence rather than ethereal. He states that he gives
these bones, which might just as well be on the black market, a new place of healing. He
builds a new life from the bones. The bones act as architecture for a renewed creation.
Again Brohman employs the life and death cycle visually by creating an artistic life from
the remains of death.
The crown of beeswax acts a representation for healing. The whole work of
combined elements references shells and exteriors through memory. The Cicada shell is
an extension of his memory and embodies a specific time in the artists life. The
beeswax symbolizes healing and that through memory we can heal ourselves. The skull
is a reminder of the minds casing and that in the end; we are all flesh and bones. The
viewer approaches this piece like a shrine. However, it is not a container for the holy
relics of saints, but for the sacred nature of all life and perhaps the holiness of Earthly
existence itself. These may be the physical remains of anybody, insofar that every human
life experiences the great mystery of birth and death. The objects like the wax and cicada
shell are authentic signifiers of regeneration as seen in the shell of the cicada, and
preservation and healing as a quality of the beeswax.
Reliquary #2 consists of a human pelvis, spinal column, bronze, mirror and
plywood. Made in 2004, this piece furthers the examination of reliquary as a
simultaneous artistic and religious practice, while contriving a personal and an historical
fiction. The personal element is evident in the construction of the piece and the inclusion


50
of Brohmans own signifiers of physicality, but the inclusion of anonymous bones creates
a new story. His makeshift sculptures act as an impetus for aesthetic contemplation; their
geometric composition suggests an architectural basis, modeling a tradition of finding
spiritual significance in the bones of the dead. Reminiscent of the Catholic sculptures
that display the bones of saints, Brohmans cast of his own head is the stoic face of a
refined descendant of the remnants of idolatry. The serene delicacy and solidarity of the
spinal column, is a directive to something more cerebral than original relic alters. The
mirror located in the bronze head hints to a futuristic incarnation of primal ritual and
belief, possessing the secrets of ancient wisdom. But in its reflection, we have a view of
the now. Creating his monolith in paper, Brohmans sculpture is a humble facsimile, in
which all men are at the level of sainthood by merely entering into the realm of death. It
is participation in lifes processes that make a person venerable, not outlandish miracles.
He is encapsulating a sense of timeless wonder with a meager and bereft gesture. That
gesture is to give a new home to bones that would otherwise be in lost in the black
market. Those bones are proof of mans mortality, and that in itself is worth reliquary.


51
Conclusion
His studio is like the workspace of taxonomist, alchemist, and artist. Among the
remains of animals, teeth, bones, feathers, and fur, symbols of transition take hold.
Masses of metal and industrious material are a hugely impressive presence, like sleeping
giants waiting to be given life through art. Saws and blades, broken glass and delicate
evidence of fleetingness contrast in a heartbreakingly beautiful assemblage splayed
across the studio floor. This is the place where man physically battles mass in attempt to
shape, mold or transform. This is also a place where the sculptor sits in silent
introspection in dealing with even the tiniest verification of times past.
What does this studio space represent? It is the place in which Michael Brohman
undertakes the journey of life, his identity, memory, religion and mind. He is an artist
who spins a tale in the braiding of wool and in the melting of metal. In order for him to
take conscientiousness for his self, something different, and something life-giving occurs.
He breathes life into every art object and accepts death as inevitability. His intuition into
what is happening around him is marked in the act of creating. These are the psychic
tasks of this time: using his acute vision to recognize and react to both the negative
shadows and brilliant light of his own psyche. At the same time, he must also recognize
and react to the both negative and redeeming aspects of persons and events in the outer
world. The duality of his inner essence and the outer world coincidentally reflect the
artists battle with the concept of God. It is true; it is easier to throw away the light of
intuitive, artistic discrimination and blindly accept the existence of God. It is hard to
constantly strive in the gathering up of will in order to do something about what one sees,


52
be it for good, or balance or to allow something to die. It causes eternal work for the
artist in the watching and comprehending of forces and imbalances both inward and
outward. But this is the obligation of the artist. For with it, we clearly see all sides of
ourselves and others, both the disfigured and the divine and all conditions in between.


53
Bibliography
Cotterell, Arthur. Classical Mythology: An Authoritative Reference to the Ancient Greek,
Roman, Celtic and Norse Legends. New York, Lorenz Books, 2000, p. 129.
Freud, Sigmund. Introductory Lectures on Psycho-analysis. New York, W.W. Norton &
Company, 1966, p. 248.
Jung, Carl. TheCollectcd Works. New York, Princeton University Press, 1953-79, p. 96.
Jung, Carl. "The Psychology of the Child Archetype" Part I: The Archetypes and the
Collective Unconscious. New York, Princeton University Press, 1940, p. 291.
Kristeva, Julia. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. New York, Columbia
University Press, 1982, p. 4.
Milton, John. Complete Poems. Vol. IV. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier &
Son, 1909-14; Bartleby.com, 2001, p. 56-60.


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Figures
1.1 Journey, 2002, bronze.
1.2 Fear and Faith, 2004, bronze.


55
1.3 Gently Down the Stream, 2004, bronze and found wooden objects.
2.1 Dirty Underwear, 2002, bronze.


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2.2 Go Ahead and Stare, 2002, bronze.
2.3 Cicada, 2003, bronze.


57
'A
4
\
2.5 Pepto Bisnuil Pink Baby, 2003, bronze.


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2.6 Sights Unseen, 2003, bronze.
3.1 Counting Backwards, 2004, bronze and fabric.


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3.2 Catalogued Chickadees, 2004, bronze and steel.
3.3 Possums, 2003, bronze.


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3.4 Me and My Shadow, 2004, bronze and steel.
3.5 A Fragment of Her Former Self, 2001, bronze.


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3.6 Silent Memories, 2004, bronze, wooden shelving, canned goods, fruit, insects, and
wax.
4.1 Laws of Man/ Laws of God, 2004, bronze, wood, and steel.


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4.2 Michelangelo Buonarroti, Creation of Adam, 1508-12, fresco painting.
4.3 Choices, 2005, rams skull and wool.


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4.4 Lamb, 2005, lambs skull, wool, and steel.
4.5 Trinity, 2005, rams skull, wool, steel, and human hair.


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4.6 Umbilical Noose, 2005, cast iron, steel, wool, and human hair.
4.7 Silencing the Lambs, 2005, bronze, wool, and steel.


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4.8 Lazarus, 2005, bronze.
4.9 Return, 2004, cast iron, steel, water.


Reliquary #/, 2004/2005, cast iron, human skull, bees wax, and cicada shell.
Reliquary #2, 2004, human pelvis, spinal column, bronze, mirror and plywood.