Remembering How to be Human

Remembering How to be Human


Surface Gallery, Colorado Springs CO 

November 3rd-24th, 2023
exhibition opening: November 3rd, 5-9 pm
with live music by Kellie Palmblad
artist talk: November 14th 5:30 pm

About the Exhibit:

Starting in March 2020 what it meant to be a functional human being shifted for everyone  on this planet.  Regardless of country, culture, time zone and self imposed affiliations, we, as in the collective “WE” experienced a fracturing and interruption in our daily lives.  As a result, we have seen fault lines develop and deepen. We have seen the creation of alternate realities and conspiracies around every corner.  We have seen opportunists dive into the power vacuum. We have seen the creation of new technologies, some of them designed to mimic the very core essence of our humanity.  We have seen war, economic turbulence, and environmental change.  To cope, we silo ourselves into our safe camps on our social media streams, relying on AI to show us versions of what humanity looks like now.  We experienced a trauma.  A deep wound.  The ground has been left shaken beneath our feet, and as we remerge into our collective lives, something is different. 

During this time, my personal shift involved a 14 month long chemotherapy treatment for my ongoing leukemia battle.  It was the hardest thing that I have ever done.  If it wasn’t for the unending support from my wife and partner Riley Bratzler, I don’t know if I would have endured.  The kinetic body that I knew disappeared.  My creative mind hazed up, and became unreliable.  I almost lost my vision, and my ability to make art.  I had no choice but to learn to practice patience and forgive myself on a journey that felt like an eternity.  

On July 27th, 2022, after a battery of tests, I was told by my Doctors that the treatment worked, and that as of that moment.  Within 3 days, I could feel the effects of the chemo leave my body, my energy was coming back, my mind was clearing.  On day 4 my brother in law was killed.  On day 7 a human that I considered my best friend, one of the kindest people I have ever known, lost his battle with cancer.  The guilt of my survival over theirs, lives in my pocket, I carry it wherever I go.  

In the 16 months that followed, as I embarked on the creation of this exhibition, I found myself continuously in awe of my wife as she traversed her path through a forest of grief.  My goal for the stories that I am telling in this body of work is not one of just sadness, but one of perseverance and strength.  As humans, we are capable of great healing, of joy, of survival. We can forgive, and grow.  We can manifest bravery in the face of fear.  We can not just endure, we can thrive.  

About the Artist:

Brett Andrus is a 46 year old Colorado artist. He studied painting and art history at the Savannah College of Art and Design before returning home to Colorado in 2001.  In 2009, Andrus co-founded two award winning galleries, The Modbo and S.P.Q.R, in downtown Colorado Springs.  Currently, Andrus owns and operates the art space Bosky Studio with his wife and art partner Riley Bratzler.

Andrus Splits his focus between a 20 year career as a Mortgage Planner and a career as a professional artist.  Between the years of 2010-2023 Andrus created and exhibited in 15 solo exhibitions.  In 2016, Andrus received the Artist of the Year Award from the Pikes Peak Arts Council, 

In 2018 Brett was diagnosed with a rare, slow moving form of leukemia. From May 2021- August 2022 Andrus underwent fourteen months of chemotherapy, resulting in the disease entering a sort of reset and remission stage.  His battle with the disease has become a major focus in his work. He looks at every day as a gift.  During chemotherapy, Andrus almost lost his sight  as a result of a side effect from the chemotherapy treatment.  Both of his retinas detached, but his vision was saved through emergency surgeries.  In April 2023, Andrus once again had to undergo two surgeries  to restore another episode resulting in the quick deterioration of his vision.  Under the mentorship of renowned realist painter Lee Price, Andrus has been attempting to use his medical conditions as a superpower.  He is learning  to slow down, to be patient and more intentional in his work.

 His focus is on the narrative power of the human figure and portraiture, utilizing elements of magical realism and surrealism. Andrus sets out to inspire an emotional interaction with the viewer.  His goal is to create with integrity, to be personal, to be honest.   He believes in his viewer and in their ability to engage and to be part of the conversation. 

 During my health battle I adopted a mantra “ be a place to create, connect  and impact”.  I try my best to make a good painting with my mantra at heart.  My  goal as a painter is to paint what I know, or at least what I think I know.  I try to do it with honesty.  I strive to connect with my viewer.