Brian Holland

Ceramicist

Artists Statement:
I make coiled and modelled figurative sculpture, and slab forms-functional and non functional, The figurative work exploits body language and group dynamics. Many of these works are large and perfect for a garden setting. The slab forms are influenced by an interest in architecture and street and industrial images. Most are functional- bottles, platters etc- but form and surface are the dominant factors. All are a response to the joy of being alive!
Most work is wood fired to around 1300 degrees centigrade with celadon, ash and shino glazes, or with engobes and slips . Some of the smaller figurative pieces are raku fired

Brain Holland holds a BA(Hons) and an MA in Art & Design from Sheffield Hallam University. He has work in Public and private collections internationally. He lives and works in Sheffield.

After completing a BA honors degree in painting, I pursued a printmaking postgraduate degree in the UK, where I am from. It was during this time that I was impacted by the German Expressionists, whose works, particularly in printmaking, left an indelible impression on me. I dedicated many subsequent years to developing my work in etching and other forms of printmaking. Today, printmaking continues to be a medium that intrigues me and is hugely influential in the way I approach my painting and sculpture.

Since I moved from the UK to Chicago in 2010, I have been able to expand my work in both printmaking and painting -- often combining elements of both in one piece. To develop a painting or drawing I use my prints as the starting point, which are often worked into a painting using collage and printed impressions from fabrics and embossed papers. I then use printmaking tools, such as rollers, squeegees and scrapers, to apply paint. My clay-based sculptures are also layered and imprinted with fabric patterns; a variety of stampings and tooled marks give their surfaces the appearance of “etched lines.”

People are the subjects of my work and I am intrigued by moments that, despite initially appearing quite commonplace, are (for me) charged with great significance and meaning. My inspiration is drawn from experiences or predicaments I encounter in daily life, such as social gatherings, images from social media and words from a song or a poem. All these generate ideas for themes that I can build upon, “dress-up” and weave into my work. I compose figures either in groupings or as a single figure or just a face. My aim is not to create exact likenesses, but rather to create prototypical or archetypal figures whose personality or identity is both partly exposed and partly hidden beneath the surface. Everything about the way I work (both technique and subject) is motivated by the desire to reveal or “bring something to light.” Thus my process involves layering then scraping back, building then excavating; otherwise, peeling back layers to “carve out” and reveal something hidden beneath the surface.

It is through these painted, sculpted or printed figures that I wish to project recognizable aspects of human experience. I want to compel and to draw the viewer in for a closer look at and beyond the surface.