John Brickels

2 Ton by John Brickels (48"x20"x40", ceramic and metal, 2004)

Essex Junction, Vermont

Clay artist John Brickels has been creating stoneware sculpture for over thirty-five years. His falling barn sculptures, tittering urban row houses and collapsed rust-belt factories celebrate the hidden beauty of entropy.

Brickels’ “Claymobile” sculptures combine vintage toy pedal car/pedal tractor bodies and trompe l’oeil mechanicals sculpted from slab and extruded stoneware clay. Augmenting weathered toy pedal car and pedal tractor bodies with realistic components, Brickels blurs the line between adulthood and childhood. The viewer deciphers whether these sculptures are adult vehicles shrunk to a child’s perspective or a child’s toy amplified into an adult world.

The Burlington Free Press in Vermont wrote, “His masterpieces of architectural mortality remind viewers of much-loved landmarks from urban and rural hometowns and catch the poignancy of their decline with a fond humor.”

Brickels’ machines acclaim the industrial heritage of his childhood, rust-belt home of Akron, Ohio. His award-winning work is held in many private and corporate collections; has been featured in Ceramic Monthly, American Style Magazine, The Boston Globe, Art and Perception, and The New York Times; and has been exhibited at the the Smithsonian Institute, the Sculpture Objects and Fine Craft Show (SOFA) in New York City, and the International Orton Cone Box Show.

His sculptures of the Spanish Missions, commissioned by the City of San Antonio, have been presented to Pope John Paul II, Queen Elizabeth II and King Juan Carlos of Spain.

His studio is at S.P.A.C.E. in Burlington’s South End Arts District.


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