Monday, January 4, 2010

Bren Sullivan: Excavation 2009 - Figurative Sculptures

These figurative sculptures were influenced by the artist’s childhood experiences and current views of modern life. Bren’s childhood home was somewhat primitive, in contrast to today’s standards, without conveniences such as an indoor toilet. Her parents raised her and two brothers in a dry county in rural Mississippi, where even dancing was strictly forbidden by the church. Being relatively na├»ve in her youth, Bren strived to live up to religious and cultural standards of how a “proper southern girl” looks and behaves - perfect and pretty.

Bren’s imperfect doll-like figurative work represents a sense of re-birth and ascension to a spiritual place free from the imposed bonds of vanity and perfection, religious dogma, and attitudes of intolerance.

Much of Bren’s childhood was care-free, happy and relatively simple. When she wasn’t franticly drawing mustard, mayo and ketchup faces on meat patties to break the monotony of making burgers at her parent’s Dairy Bar; Bren was left to her own imagination. Free from adult responsibilities and unlike today’s child, she enjoyed “unstructured” play time. No schedule jammed with organized sports or activities, no shopping malls, few toys, limited TV, and the absence of a computer to dictate her actions, pacify her imagination, and clutter her curiosity. Doing “without” cultivated Bren’s sense of wonderment and allowed her to explore, connect and appreciate the surrounding natural beauty of the environment. Inspired by pictures in National Geographic, she loved digging in the dirt as though on an archeological expedition. Bren began creating dolls and play things from the buried “treasures” she unearthed and this continues to be visible in her sculptures today. Her fascination with unearthing deteriorating objects naturally led her to the mediums of clay, wood, glass, scrap metal and hardware. Bren transforms these common everyday materials into very uncommon works of fine art that are captivating because they are rough, raw, and uncensored. She does not limit her artistic expression to creating what is merely pleasant to look at or expected.


Photography and website by LED