Robert Harrison – Red Lodge Clay Center

Robert HarrisonHelena, Montana

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Robert Harrison is a practicing artist who lives and works in Helena, Montana, USA. He has built his 30+ year career in the large-scale site-specific architectural sculpture realm along with smaller-scale studio activity out of his Granitewood Studio just west of Helena.

He holds BFA and MFA degrees in Ceramics and is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics (Geneva), founding member of the World Association of Brick Artists (WABA) and Fellow of NCECA (the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts). His exhibition and installation record is global and extensive.

I began my professional career working in ceramics over forty years ago. My initial work was through the vessel format, focusing on form and Oriental traditions in clay. After several years of exploring the vessel the work took a decidedly sculptural bent. The next few years brought an increase in scale and a focus on site, with the ideas drawing heavily on influences in architecture, land art and the introduction of additional sculptural materials.

I have been exploring architectural concepts in both the larger site-specific outdoor and museum installations as well as a body of smaller scale studio works over the past three plus decades, attempting to play one body of work off the other. My studio pieces are more intimate and have included a variety of materials and allow for intensified exploration. In recent years I have intentionally focused my studio practice in a strictly ceramics orientation, in essence bringing my studio work full circle, and back to my ceramic roots.

Space is a primary component of my work and the consideration of interior or exterior space is elemental to the challenges of working in any scale, be it monumental projects or the intimacy of a hand held studio object. The Architecture of Space has defined itself as the focus of my artistic exploration.

Over the past fifteen years I have had several opportunities to work with national and international brick, clay pipe and tile factories. The challenge I have set for myself is to explore the potential of these industrial opportunities and utilize the resources and tools they offer to further my creative pursuits in both large and small scales. Regardless of the opportunity or application, my continued effort is to respond to the environment (site), utilize the given space and create work that resonates with a ceramic echo.