B.A., Studio Art, cum laude, Rhodes College, Memphis, TN
Brian Russell began his artistic endeavors in black and white photography with a concentration on the human form until his introduction to sculpture in 1981. Beginning in wood and stone carving, Brian progressed from fabricating large freestanding sculptures from scrap steel and industrial debris to making furniture and other functional items.
After mastering new techniques and materials, Russell began to incorporate color into his work using fused glass and volumetric shapes which created more sculptural pieces. His visual vocabulary is derived from his travels, nature and the human form.
On a visit to New Zealand in 1999 Russell was exposed to a lost wax glass casting technique that produced exciting results and helped him to arrive at his current location: a fusion of forged metals and cast glass unique to his sculpture. The effect of the metal forgings, synergized with the images presented by the vivid glass castings give life to his sculptures.
Sculpture is a vital element in our visual environment. The creation of objects that exist in three dimensions whose purpose is to stimulate reflection, meditation, awe and amusement is as unique to humans as it is ancient. I create works that will live harmoniously in the world as independent functionaries of society. I draw inspiration from forms and rhythms in nature, ancient artifacts, mathematics and science, distilling these influences into abstract points of intersection. My aim on a public scale is to involve the viewer, to interject into the world points of beauty, interest and spontaneity. I want people to use my sculpture as an excuse to mentally shift to another level of consciousness, above the daily hubbub, even for a moment, and to reconnect with themselves via that primal, emotional, cortex-controlled spasm of an encounter with an unexpected oasis in a visual desert.
On a personal level creating sculpture is an endless connected series of experiments. Technical matters drive visual possibilities. Imaginings require research into materials and techniques. The act of physically manipulating substances informs the entire thought process. Knowledge of process induces parameters and frees the mind. The daily work ethic gives total responsibility over the outcome. The path is long and winding and where it leads I will follow…