Brett Wallerstein received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tyler School of Art, Temple University in 1993 and earned his Masters of Education from Gratz College in 2003. He also attended the Rhode Island School of Design and the University of the Arts for his post graduate studies in studio arts. Recently, he completed his MA in ceramic arts at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland and is expecting to complete his MFA in 2020.
Wallerstein has served as an art educator for the Neshaminy School District in Bucks County, Pennsylvania for over 25 years. He has taught art and ceramics at every grade level and is also an adjunct professor at Rowan College of Burlington County. Brett’s home studio is located just outside the city of Philadelphia where he creates and fires his whimsical sculptural forms.
My whimsical sculptural forms are inspired by diminutive organic objects that contain beautiful fractals when examined close up. Fractals are complex patterns formed in nature that increase in complexity when magnified. While taking a casual stroll on the beach or through the park I often find myself collecting different types of seed pods and oceanic specimens. First drawn to the overall form of the object for its simplicity, sensuality, and elegance, the object is picked up and its texture is felt. While examining it more closely, I am often fascinated by what first appears to be a chaotic surface arrangement. As I look closer I notice the remarkable order in the complex patterns the fractals create. The harmony and rhythms they create relax me as I watch them meditatively. Transformed through gesture and line, the essential elements of these ceramic sculptures originate from my drawings of these carefully selected objects. As my porcelain sculptures are created, I am drawing in three-dimensions allowing the touch of my hand and intuition guide me in the making process. Line and edge are carefully considered while trying to accentuate the sculpture’s silhouette. The sculpture’s bold shapes are given strength by carving detail which also enhance the movement and texture of the form. The plasticity of porcelain allows me to alter each piece to my liking and the purity of it offers a seductive smooth surface for embellishment. The unglazed surface allows the form to remain pure and simple, drawing attention to its bold silhouette and graceful movement. Polished sheens are often produced on the surfaces bringing out the beautiful characteristics of the porcelain. Displayed with soft lighting, the modeled and/or carved surface patterns are accentuated by the contrasting light and dark shadow areas. This body of work aims to take familiar organic objects and transform them into playful explorations of forms and innovative, thought provoking creations. Less familiar and exotic specimens are also explored and the unique fractal patterns created within it’s structure. As the piece speaks to me while working, biomorphic or abstract territories by morphing, exaggerating, simplifying and assembling separate components are sometimes explored. My intention is not to replicate the natural object exactly the way it appears but to evoke the feeling of bewilderment and awe when the object is first encountered.