Interview by ALEXANDER CONNER
Tockwogh (Mystic truth machine)
Brookes Britcher received his MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art (Bloomfield Hills, MI) and his BS from Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA). Over the last eleven years his work has been exhibited around the country in numerous curated and group shows, and exists in various private collections, most notably J.W. Mahoney of Art In America and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. and Tim Rollins of Tim Rollins & K.O.S. in New York City, NY.
He is also a very good friend of mine.
How important is the concept of memory for your work?
Memory – my memory – guides the majority of my creative decisions. I am continually utilizing it as a means to inform color, space, materials and actions. In the end, the memory is meant to be replaced by the object.
Your sculpture is based on everyday objects which have been changed in a certain way. How do you characterize these changes?
The materials I attempt to employ in my pieces have had a “life” beyond the context of my creation/assemblage. It is a boundary that I am drawn to and continue to investigate. When you are using “found” or “collected” materials, when do you respect the histories that these objects carry? How does it inform your use of these objects? An range-oven on the side of the road may have baked a wedding cake for 2 generations of family that could not afford to buy one. There is a history there. Whether it exists or I imagine it does not change its value. It becomes a symbol for those histories.
Does your work act as a modified mirror through which these everyday objects are reflected, or as objects set apart from reality demanding a new context in which to exist.
Ideally, I strive to create another meaning for the objects that I use. A meaning connected to my own experience. It is no more than a painter mixing a color. The color existed – but it may be the first time he/she has mixed it. Ignoring the “reality” of these objects accomplishes nothing. Why use them then? It begins with a respect for what they represent – and what they could become if imagined.
When you speak about your work, the language of photography seems to be the dialect you choose. Why do you think that is?
Photography is the most self-reflexive of all mediums. Before we are even born we are the subject of a “photograph” (sonogram). Photography connects vision and object in a way which no other media can. Everyone has a relationship to a photograph. Everyone has touched one, everyone has made one. These gestures age. They find new meaning – from the immediacy of love to the longing for a girlfriend past. The objects that occupy our lives have the same potential for meaning. It is just a matter of noticing how drastically a car, a stove, boxes or a wire has figured into the direction of your life. You would be surprised.