"A brilliant manifestation for the former college football player and U.S. Marine who spent his entire life amid alpha males until cancer challenged his proverbial superman complex and forced him to reexamine life."
- Las Vegas Weekly
Michael Barrett immerses himself in an effort at reinterpreting masculine narratives that interrogate key constructs of gender. Having served a tour in the U.S. Marine Corps, earned a collegiate athletic scholarship, and survived a battle with testicular cancer, Barrett employs a hermeneutic phenomenological lens for confronting masculinity and its historical constructs. His work reconsiders social structures and how they empower and disempower by grounding itself in influential theories of Donna Harraway (cyborg theory), Yi Fu Tuan (space and place) and Martin Heidegger (being and time).
Overlapping the inherent physical nature of the body, and the ephemeral nature of space and its connection to societal place, with the elements of time, including past, present, and future, Barrett's work investigates five areas of masculinity. These areas challenge cycles, social constructs, and reveal previously missed, invisible, and silenced perspectives around what it means to be masculine and what function gender serves.
1. Physical force and control
2. Work and occupational achievement
Barrett currently enjoys his position as a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art and Visual Culture Education, at the University of Arizona. He holds an M.F.A. in contemporary sculpture, and has taught and performed extensively outside of the United States, including Austria, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, and Poland.
Barrett's selected solo and group exhibitions include the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts - New York City; the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery; Psi 19, Stanford University; Berkeley Art Center; Quartair Initiatives for the Arts, Den Hauge; Scope International, Basel, Switzerland; Galeria Michaela Stock, DOPUST 2016 – Vienna; Surface Gallery, U.K.; SOMArts, San Francisco; Las Vegas Contemporary Arts Center; Krowswork, Oakland; Raczej Galeria, Poznan, Poland; Hole of Fame Gallery, Dresden, Germany; Tucson Museum of Art; Galerie Koppelmann Kunstwerk Nippes, KulturBunker, Cologne, Germany, Studio: Ilka Theurich, Hanover, Germany, Kunstpavillon Burgbrohl, Germany.