Brooks Oliver – Red Lodge Clay Center

Brooks OliverDenton, Texas

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Some of my favorite childhood memories were formed around the dinner table with family and friends, eating and engaging in conversation. These experiences have informed my interest in and research of utilitarian objects. I am drawn to the communal aspects of serving vessels and the rich cultural history and traditions of these objects, while continuing to investigate their contemporary social significance. Through my work, I highlight the important ritual of sharing a meal, utilizing my ceramic serving forms as a catalyst for interaction and communication.

Formally, I’m interested in the sculptural considerations of minimal form and surface, striking a balance between pristine design and qualities of the handmade object. I have an affinity for crisp lines, creative innovation and simple geometric form and pull inspiration from mass-produced objects and minimalism. My designs are developed from geometric shapes and sequences, but instilled with subtly and softness that serve to highlight the process of production and humanize the work. Repetition plays a significant role, as I utilize the stacking and interaction of multiple forms to mimic the works intent through form and surface while making connections to mass production and social interactions.

My current body of work draws upon this strength and utilizes my communal vessel forms to reinforce the social significance of this dwindling tradition. Offering an incentive for interpersonal interaction and to reclaim the table.

The ambition of my work is to reimagine and reinterpret the familiar functional vessel.  By isolating, altering, and exploiting the necessary components of a vessel, I attempt to provide new visions of utilitarian ceramic wares.

My work inherently blurs the boundaries between craft, design, industry, and technology as I am inspired by the charged grey areas between these binaries.  By marrying the production techniques of CAD software and rapid prototyping technologies with the creation techniques of the hand, a unique dialog can be formed between the digital and clay that ultimately influences both ways of making.