Cartoonish Americana: Sculpture by John Brickels
John Brickels specializes in stoneware clay sculpture, creating highly detailed miniatures of machines and buildings. Each of John’s sculptures is imbued with a lively sense of cartoonish Americana.
I’m really a fan of John’s City Buildings series. These sculptures take the form of realistically detailed buildings, though each is distorted and twisted into delightfully playful proportions. Every crack in the brickwork and out-of-place shingle is rendered in a beautiful, slightly exaggerated. The artist’s Mid-Century Modern series takes the same style notes, translating them into wall-hangings of diners and car washes from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.
This slightly off-kilter aesthetic sense runs throughout John’s portfolio. The artist favors machines and machine parts, sculpting bizarre mechanical constructions that are then combined with found objects including metal dials and meters to create the appearance of objects that might serve some as-yet-unknown purpose. In his Vehicles series, John sculpts engine parts and wheel axels out of clay, then tops them off with rusted-covered, brightly painted automobile bodies.