NO BARK, ALL BITE: Brixton Marley Brennan’s staggering new exhibition scrutinizes man’s relationship with nature, possessions, and the impact of nature upon possessions

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“Man Build Dog Dig” (original)

Emerging artist Brixton Marley Brennan enters the contemporary art world with a bang, and lots and lots of bite, with a thought-provoking showing of new works which continue to transform before our eyes.

Eschewing the gallery scene to exhibit instead within a private home, the centerpiece of this collection is “Man Build Dog Dig”. A 6 inch x 6 inch masterpiece exploring the temporary quality of man-made structures against nature, this visionary work is a stunning indictment of US immigration policies in which the artist proclaims his dissatisfaction with the construction of one wall by tearing down another. Border actions are further condemned by the use of materials- paint, drywall, plaster- typically employed in the construction of homes, referencing the separation of families in detainment centers.

While for the premiere viewing this existed as simply a shallow concavity, the artist has now, literally, taken it deeper, excavating beyond the initial scratching of this surface to burrow fully inside. Is this a directive to look inward? A comment on the shallowness of American life? A beseeching that the onlooking plumb beyond the superficial?

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Man Build Dog Dig (revision)

Those familiar with the background of the artist may theorize a revealing, in the revelation of the recesses- the desire to burrow, to retreat to the interior in search of comfort and safety. This would hearken, however, to the artist’s past, while this work feels to live very much in the present. More likely is the interpretation of this as one of sheer joy in the action of destruction.

This work is presented alongside “You Are Not What You Own”, a searing criticism of fulfillment in property, utilizing an almost brand-new quilt. The damage is fully aesthetic; its function is unmarred. Can it still be cherished? If yes, as much as before?

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“You Are Not What You Own” detail

For the opening exhibition on October 10th at 3 am, these works were accompanied by the performance piece “More Problems”, in which the artist sought safe shelter for a bone made of alternative rawhide in numerous rooms throughout the space, succinctly demonstrating how our stress in protecting our material goods negates our enjoyment of them.

While collectively these works are Untitled by the artist, they will likely become most known by their colloquial name, “Why Would You Do That?!?!?”

All in all, this is a brilliant introduction to an equally brilliant artist, evocative of Basquiat, Francis Bacon, and Lucien Freud, yet highly individualistic. We can’t wait to see what comes next.

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The Artist

NOTE: As of press time, “Man Build Dog Dig” has been covered with a piece of cardboard by the owner of the exhibition space. It is unclear whether this is art or not.

is a Pittsburgh-based journalist, playwright, and theater artist who writes about social justice, visual art, travel, and her dog.

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