John Brickels, Architectural Sculpture and Claymobiles, Essex Jct, Vermont

Biography

 

John Brickels has been creating stoneware sculpture for over 35 years. His falling barn sculptures, tittering urban row houses and collapsed rust-belt factories celebrate the hidden beauty of entropy.

Brickels "Claymobile" sculptures are based on the "rural myth" of antique cars being discovered in abandoned barns. Brickels has rescued vintage pedal car bodies and has retro-fitted them with stoneware engines, suspensions and dashboards.

His "Claymobiles" were featured in "Hemmings Classic Car" Magazine (December 2007), and "Car and Driver" magazine (January 2008).

John's robots and machines acclaim the industrial heritage of his childhood, rust-belt home, Akron Ohio.

Brickels award-winning sculptures are held in many private and corporate collections. His work has been featured in Ceramic Monthly, American Style Magazine, The Boston Globe, Art and Perception, and The New York Times.

He has exhibited with the Smithsonian Institute, the Sculpture Objects and Fine Craft Show (SOFA) in New York City, and the International Orton Cone Box Show.

EXHIBITIONS AND AWARDS

Solo Exhibition, November 2008
Gellery 2, Vermont Artisan Designs
Brattleboro, Vermont

Weston, Vermont Fine Craft Show, October 2008
Weston, Vermont
People's Choice Award

"South End Art Hop", September 2008
Burlington, Vermont
3rd Place Award

"Arts Alive Winners Show", September 2008
Union Station, Burlington, Vermont

"Bolts and Bots" Solo Exhibition, July 2008
Lazy Pear Gallery
Montpelier, Vermont

"Arts Alive Winners Show", June 2008
Union Station, Burlington, Vermont
1st Place Award

Weston, Vermont Fine Craft Show, October 2007
Weston, Vermont
People's Choice Award

"Out of the Fire"
Celadon Clay Art Gallery, August/September 2007
Water Mill, New York

"Arts Alive", June 2007
Union Station, Burlington, Vermont

"Pedal Metal Clay"
Glassworks Gallery, March 2007
Louisville, Kentucky
Solo Exhibition

"Fire Up" Ceramic Invitational, July/August 2006
Studio Place Arts Gallery, Barre, Vermont

"Arts Alive" 2006
Union Station, Burlington, Vermont
2nd Place Award

International Orton Cone Box Show 2006
Portland, Oregon
Juror's Choice Purchase Award

"For Art's Sake", Art and Fine Craft Show, September 2005
Helen Day Center, Stowe, Vermont
1st Place Award Sculpture and Artist's Jury Award

Northern Vermont Artist Association Annual Juried Show, June 2006
Bryan Memorial Gallery, Jeffersonville, Vermont
1st Place Award Sculpture and Artist's Jury Award

SOFA, Sculpture Objects and Fine Craft Show, June 2005
The Armory, New York, New York

Smithsonian Institute "Barn Again, Celebrating an American Icon" National Exhibit
2004-2005 Wyoming, Maine, South Carolina, Idaho and Connecticut

Littleton NH Fine Art and Crafts Show
September 2004
1st Place Sculpture Award

Northern Vermont Artist Association
Annual Juried Show
June 2004, Johnson, Vermont
Award of Merit for Sculpture

Ceramic Monthly International Competition
March 1999, Columbus, Ohio
"Bailey Pottery purchase award winner"

Smithtown Township Arts Council, 23rd Annual Juried Fine Arts Competition
October 1998, St. James, New York
"Award of Excellence" Awarded by Tracey Bashkoff, Curator of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, New York

MAJOR COMMISSIONS

Sculptures commissioned by the State of Vermont and permanently installed in the General Services Building, Middlesex, Vermont, 1993.

Sculptures of the Spanish Missions commissioned by the City of San Antonio and presented to President George Bush, Pope John Paul II, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles of Wales, and King Juan Carlos of Spain, 1984 to 1987.

DOCUMENTATION

7 Days Newspaper, 7-23-2008
"Robo Clay Solo Exhibit"
"The 6-foot tall standing "Milliamp" steals the show, and confirms that Brickels is a consumate clay robotics engineer."

Burlington Free Press, 7-17-2008
"Bolts and Bots"
" ... robots that create a balance between anachronism and modern technology."

Times Argus, 7-11-2008
"The Essex Junction sculptor is a master of complex follies."

Essex Reporter, 7-10-2008
"Brickels' machines, deceptively made with brown clay, have captivated audiences of all ages wherever they have been viewed."

Arts Alive 2008 Jurors, 6-20-2008
Mark Waskow, Syndi Zook
"Rusty by John Brickels is a piece that has it all. We found ourselves quite often looking at other pieces and comparing them to this one. Finally we realized that there was a reason for this, and made this positioning official; it is our choice for first place this year. The technical virtuosity combined with fantasy-based originality and creativity displayed in this piece are in a class by themselves. This is world class work."

Car and Driver Magazine, January 2008

Hemming's Classic Car Magazine, December 2007
"One sculptor, (Brickels) takes these cast-off relics, (pedal cars) of childhood and expands their physical form, in the process bringing that long forgotten imagination back to life."

American Style Magazine, February 2006

New England Crafts Connoisseur, Fall 2006
"His work resonates with people who see his array of monochromatic structures and wall pieces at major craft shows and galleries."

Burlington Free Press, Burlington, Vermont, July 29, 2006

American Style Magazine, Feb. 2006

"Art Express" Mountain Lake New York State Public Television, June 2005

New England Crafts Connoisseur, Fall 2006

Art New England, September 2004
"John Brickels' Skyscraper appears as if it were made of Jell-o and wobbles as it ascends. Its facade is flaking off in pieces, revealing the brick underneath; ventilation and piping running up the side of the building are falling off. Brickels executes these features with a scrupulous attention to detail."

Ceramics Art and Perception Magazine, 2000, Issue 39
"The Bailey Pottery Equipment Award which went to "Park" by John Brickels, an amusing and carefully crafted piece that spoke of our confusion of contemporary icons and memorials - here automobiles are jammed into a parking station that looks suspiciously like the ruins at Ephesus."

New York Times, September 1999
The artist's sculptures "...twist and swell like three-dimensional versions of Charles Burchfield's eerily animated buildings."

Long Island Voice, September 1999
"Vermont artist John Brickels' undulating brown farmhouses and other decaying strtuctures had an obsessive sense of nostalgia that transcends the humble and homey stoneware clay."

Burlington Free Press, 1998
"Like Tim Burton ("Beetlejuice", "Edward Scissorhands") Brickels has a real flair for the slightly spooky poignancy of old buildings, houses and carnivals. Worn down by time and the elements, the buildings in these clay pieces look positively beat: slouched, swollen with experience, poised for either collapse or escape."

San Antonio Light, September 1988
"His three dimensional structures recall the mysteries of inner space from childhood. These superbly crafted structures have dignity and beauty even - especially - in this condition. He manages to bring them to us with careful observation made meaningful through his insights."

EDUCATION

Bachelor of Visual Arts
University of Akron
Akron, Ohio

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