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News > Context Fall 2023 > Expression: Brick as a Sculptural Medium

Expression: Brick as a Sculptural Medium

“Cer,” Lincoln NE. Wall, planters & 5 columns with seating for 10 in a small park. Photo:Tom Tidball
“Cer,” Lincoln NE. Wall, planters & 5 columns with seating for 10 in a small park. Photo:Tom Tidball

Michael Morgan has been commissioned over the past 30 plus years to design and install many public and private sculptures using brick as his medium. He uses abstract design to create a wide range of functional and semi-functional works of art with hand carved and altered bricks. A common theme that informs his work is the notion that bricks are clay, elemental, and of the earth. “I exaggerate and alter this normally rigid building unit to emphasize its clay nature, either by carving or hitting the bricks while in their moist clay state with hands, feet, and branches.” This produces indentations and texture on the surface, the bricks are then fired in either a gas or a salt kiln. 

Michael is originally from Portsmouth, England and studied Ceramics at the Wolverhampton Polytechnic (now Wolverhampton University). It was there that he became enamored with brick as a material for his art. “I have always enjoyed long walks through both city and country landscapes. Surrounding the Polytechnic I found many abandoned, brick, industrial sites on my walks, and the direction for my art was born.” His work is also informed by his early experience working for the Portsmouth Parks Department, where he learned the fundamentals of horticulture and landscape design. He came to the US in 1988 and became a resident artist at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia where he received the American Clay Artist award for a brick chair. He then pursued graduate studies at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, NE. 

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