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Legendary Ceramic Artist’s Work Celebrated In New Exhibition At Whangārei Art Museum

In a unique collaboration, jeweller Karl Fritsch and potter Laurie Steer have come together to create a celebration of the work of renowned ceramicist, writer and conservationist, Barry Brickell.

The Brickell-brac exhibition is inspired by the egalitarian creative environment cultivated by Brickell at his Driving Creek Studio on the Coromandel Peninsula, which became a mecca for the New Zealand ceramics community from 1974 onwards.

“Brickell-brac is brown. If this exhibition has a smell, Brickell-brac is the odour of the armpits of Barry Brickell's Driving Creek Railway and Pottery! If Brickell brac has a taste, it tastes like the bottom of the recycled clay bucket in the Driving Creek artist-in-residence studio. If Brickell-brac is a sound, it is a gecko’s burp” said Karl Fritsch.

For this exhibition, one ton of clay is being shipped from Driving Creek in Coromandel to Whangārei, where Karl, Laurie and a revolving cast of invited collaborators will use it as the foundation of a process-oriented exhibition of unfired work. In keeping with the spirit of autonomy and practicality that Brickell fostered in his life and work - the furniture, plinths and shelves for the exhibition will be constructed using recycled materials from the gallery’s storage warehouse.

“Combining elements of studio visit, installation and presentation, Brickell-brac is an expansive exhibition of everything from plants and audio, to on-site performance and ceramics workshops. Karl and Laurie’s vision will transform the gallery from a display space to a play space, offering visitors an immediate access to the creative process of two of New Zealand’s pre-eminent makers and their collaborators” said Whangārei Art Museum Curator, Simon Bowerbank.

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Karl Fritsch is an internationally acclaimed contemporary jeweller and artist, best known for his work’s subversion of the ideas of luxury, precision and beauty traditionally associated with jewellery. Laurie Steer is an artist, educator and potter known for his provocative, eccentric approach to the medium, bringing a sense of the fantastic and the absurd to craft ceramics. Their collaborators in Brickell-brac include North Madison, Kalou Koefoed, Frederick Church, Josh Taylor, Simon Cumming, Paul Maseyk and Sam Ireland.

Brickell-brac will be on show to the public from 24 September 2022 – 2 January 2023 at Whangārei Art Museum, in the city’s Town Basin.

Whangārei Art Museum is Northland’s public art gallery. It was established 26 years ago to connect Northland with the world of art, showcasing local, national and international voices within powerful and provocative exhibitions. It cares for a collection of artworks worth several million dollars. The Museum is overseen by Hātea Art Precinct Trust which also governs the Hundertwasser Art Centre.

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