Appropriate means of creatively adapting to continual changes have been expressed though practices of art, architecture, science and technology. In this new body of ceramic works, entitled “Tectonic Perceptions”, the intentions are incorporating methodologies and theories from the mentioned practices to create a “new nature” in structural design for ceramic objects. The pieces seek to celebrate the versatility of clay with an aim of fostering new realizations of architectural space. Travels throughout Asia and an array of rich cultural experiences in China have brought about new realizations within the artist’s mind and perceptions of cultural identity, history and space.
These relationships have allowed the artist to explore relationships between the strong elements of tradition and modern identities rapidly evolving around the world. Explorations of these interrelationships and the intentions of the maker and his material have led to the new structural ceramic designs. Through his aspired process of invention, it is the artist’s intent to find a natural form by staying true to chosen materials and their inherent properties. The artist is in pursuit of finding and establishing a formal vocabulary that allows sculptural vessels to exhibit qualities of both unique and handcrafted objects of traditional cultures with that of machine made and mass-produced objects of our contemporary society.
Synergism, formations of patterns and structures, of animals, plants and insects have strong influences over the creation of forms. He is intrigued by questions that arise from the final objects and have begun to search for ways to assess results. What forms may allow for more or less successful interpretations? (e.g. masculine vs. feminine; organic vs. geometric) Is there or can there be a lowest common denominator to which all can relate? Can and how may these relations contribute and foster new ideas and questions beyond that of the three dimensional realizations?
Kakas’ sculptural ceramic forms are derived from hybridizations that have been developed through investigations of 20th century structural design aesthetics in architecture and mathematical theories exploring systems of growth, patterns and dimensions. Theories such as: Cartesian Geometry, Mandelbrot Fractals, Golden Ratio, Fibonacci Sequences and Gnomic Spirals are applied to the ratios & dimensions of individual segments within the modular plaster mold system of fabrication. Intentions of the works are to incorporate mathematical theories to influence while not establishing finite parameters to the ceramic sculpture designs. Numerical components of the theories remain irrational while concepts of the ratios are focused upon allowing the creation of sculptures to be more intuitive constructions. His form finding practice focuses on using elements in nature and industry that allows for variations of a theme within a larger body of work. The artist desires to make a notable contribution to contemporary ceramic arts and industry by expanding historical vocabulary of form through an innovative construction format.
One goal within the works is to inform and engage viewers while creating conversations relating to a multitude of disciplines in an effort to seek out new questions and possible answers relating to our own time and space in contemporary society.
“In our time the amount of change in environment to which an individual has to keep on readjusting himself psychologically is so great, and the pace of this change so rapid that the demand is straining the human’s capacity to adapt.” - Arnold Toynbee
Brian Kakas is an Assistant Professor of Ceramics at Northern Michigan University. He received his MFA in ceramics from The University of Notre Dame in 2007. During his masters he focused on large-scale mold making techniques for ceramic vessels through various research grants. He has also studied at Maryland Institute College of Art and The University of Montana, where received his BFA. In 2002, Kakas was a resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation. He has been in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the States including shows at NCECA. Recently he was awarded the Silver Prize at the 5th Korean World Ceramic Biennale at the World Exposition Ceramic Center in Incheon, South Korea (2009). Brian has taught and assisted workshops at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and Australian National University. In 2009, he was invited to take part in the All China Wood Fire Festival where he built and fired sculptures at HAP Studios in Beijing and Fuping Pottery Art Village In China. In 2010, Kakas was a full time resident artist at the FuLe International Ceramic Art Museums in China. Projects in China entailed consultation and fabrication of the new international resident artists studios and kilns. Exhibitions from this residency were held at the Dao Art Space Gallery located within the Xi’an Museum of Art and The Bell Tower Cultural Center in Xi’an, China. In 2011, Kakas was a resident artist and workshop instructor at the Gaya Ceramic Art Center in Bali, Indonesia. This past year he also a demonstrator at the 45th National Council of Education on the Ceramic Arts Conference held in Tampa Bay, Florida in addition to being a resident artist at the LH Project in Joseph, Oregon.
Brian Kakas’ C.V. (resume) - View his works
- MFA, Ceramics, The University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana 2004–2007
- BFA, Ceramics, Magna Cum Laude, The University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, 2000-2002
- Maryland Institute College of Art, Ceramics, Baltimore, Maryland, 1998-2000
- Montgomery County Community College, Art History, Pottstown, Pennsylvania ,1997-1998
- Demonstrator, 45th National Council of Educations for the Ceramic Arts Conference, Tampa Bay, Florida, USA, 2011
- Workshop Instructor, Masters Class – Mold Making, Evanston Art Center, Evanston, Illinois 2011
- Resident Artist, LH Project, Joseph, Oregon USA 2011
- Resident Artist and Workshop Instructor at Gaya Ceramic Art Center, Bali, Indonesia, 2011
- Workshop Instructor, Touchstone Craft Center, Pennsylvania, USA 2011
- Sculptural Ceramics Workshop Instructor, Ceramics Victoria, Australia, 2010
- Full Time Resident Artist at FuLe International Ceramic Center, China, 2010
- Visiting Artist/Workshop Instructor, Xi’an University of Science and Technology, Xi’an, China, 2010
- Workshop Instructor, “Architectural Ceramics”, Fuping Pottery Art Village, Fuping, China 2010
- Invited Guest Workshop Artist, All China Wood Fire Festival, China 2009
- Program Coordinator, Middle School Ceramic Art Program, Maryland, 2009
- Workshop Instructor, Modular Plaster Mold Making Techniques, RMIT University, Australia, 2008
- Workshop Assistant-Printing on Clay Techniques w/ Suzanne Wolfe (Hawaii) Australia National University, 2008
- Workshop Assistant-Clay and Glazes w/ Gail Nichols (Australia) Australia National University, 2008
- Workshop Assistant-Alternative Slip Cast Vessels w/ Jereon Becthold (Netherlands) Australian National University, 2008
- University of Notre Dame, Department of Art, Art History & Design, Instructor of Record, 2004-2007, Ceramics I
– Resident Artist, Archie Bray Foundation Center for the Ceramic Arts, 2002
- Award of Excellence, “1st Kaolin Grand Prix for International Ceramic Arts”, Great China Museum, Jingdezhen, China
- Silver Prize, “5th World Ceramic Biennale 2009 Korea”, Icheon World Ceramic Center, Korea
- Efroymson Fund Emerging Graduate Artist Award, The Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, 2007
- Outstanding Teacher Award, Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Notre Dame, 2007
- Full Tuition Scholarship, The University of Notre Dame, MFA Program, 2004-2007
- Teaching Assistantship, The University of Notre Dame, 2004-2007
- “Best of Show” 29th Regional Juried Exhibition, Midwest Museum of American Art, 2007
- “Best Sculpture” 28th Regional Juried Exhibition, Midwest Museum of Art, 2006
- “Best Ceramics” 27th Regional Juried Exhibition,Midwest Museum of American Art, 2005
- Graduate Research Grant, University of Notre Dame, 2006
- Slide Presentation and Artist Lecture, Roswell Museum of Art, New Mexico
- “Elements of Sculpture” Lecture, Xi’an Architecture University, Xi’an, China
- Clay and Glaze Formulation Lecture, Maryland Institute & College of Art, Baltimore, MD
- Slide Presentation and Artist Lecture, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
- Slide Presentation and Artist Lecture, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
- Slide Presentation and Artist Lecture, Maryland Institute & College of Art, Baltimore, MD
- Artist Lecture, Midwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart, Indiana
- Artist Lecture, Southwestern Michigan College, Dowagiac, Michigan.
- Slide Presentation and Lecture, Holter Museum of Art, Helena, Montana.
* represents invitational
2011 - “1st Kaolin Grand Prix for International Ceramic Arts”, Great China Museum, Jingdezhen, China
- “Ceramic Invitational”, A.L. Swanson Gallery, Helena, Montana*
- “12th Annual Ceramic Invitational”, Art Spirit Gallery, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho*
- “Pensive Intonations”, solo exhibition, GAYA CAC, Bali, Indonesia*
- “Works from the Permanent Collection”, World Ceramic Exposition Center, Incheon, South Korea*
- “Structural Ceramic Designs: Hull Series”, solo exhibition, Touchstone Center for Crafts, PA, USA
2010 - “Contemporary Cultural Exchanges”, Tang Daiman Palace, Tang Heritage Preservation Foundation, Xi’an, China*
- “American Ceramics”, Dao Art Space, Xi’an Museum of Art, Shaanxi, China*
- “Tectonic Perceptions”, solo exhibition, Bell Tower Cultural Center, Xi’an, Shaanxi, China
2009 - “5th World Ceramic Biennale 2009 Korea”, Silver Prize Award, Icheon World Ceramic Center, Kyonggi Province, Korea.
- “Tri City Wood Firing Festival Exhibition”, XYZ Gallery, 798 Arts District, Beijing, China.*
- “All China Wood Fire Festival”, Jia Pingao Museum, Xian University, School of Architecture, Xian, China.*
- “Gangjin International Ceramic Competition”, Gangjin, Korea. *
2008 - “Archie Bray Foundation Past and Present Resident Artists”, Galaxie Gallery - hosted by The Nevica Project, Chicago, Illinois.*
2007 -“Emerging Excellence - NCECA Graduate Student Exhibition”, Louisville, Kentucky.*
- “MFA Thesis Exhibition”, The Snite Museum of Art, Notre Dame, Indiana.*
2006 - “28th Elkhart Juried Regional Exhibit”, Awards: Best Sculpture, Midwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart, Indiana.
- “Systemic Progression”, Solo Exhibition, Southwestern Michigan College, Dawogiac, Michigan. *
- “Bray International - Scholarship Benefit Auction”, Warehouse Gallery, Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, Montana. *
2005 - “27th Elkhart Juried Regional Exhibit”, jurors: Nick Antonakis, Robin vanRooyen. Awards: Best Ceramics, Dr. Wesley Mark Purchase Award, Bollero Purchase Award. Midwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart, Indiana.
- “Iconic Passage, NCECA: Tour De Clay National Exhibition”, Gallery G at the
Beveled Edge, Baltimore, Maryland. *
- “It’s All Relative, Spring Exhibition”, Space 237, Toledo, Ohio. *
2004 - “New Faces”, Cross Roads Gallery, South Bend, IN.
2003 - “Archie Bray Foundation Scholarship Benefit Auction”, Helena, Montana. *
2002 - “Winter Showcase’, The Holter Museum of Art, Helena, Montana. *
- “Archie Bray Foundation: Current Resident Artists”, Lill Street Art Center, Chicago, Illinois. *
- “Archie Bray Foundation: Resident Artists in Spokane”, Kolva Sullivan Gallery, Spokane, Washington. *
- “Archie Bray Foundation Scholarship Benefit Auction”, Warehouse Gallery,
Helena, Montana. *
- “Archie Bray Summer Resident Exhibition”, Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, Montana.
- “Ceramic Exhibition”, The Sutton Gallery, Missoula, Montana. *
- “BFA Thesis Exhibition”, Gallery of Visual Arts, The University of Montana, Missoula, Montana.
- Great china Museum, Jingdezhen, China
- World Ceramic Exposition Center, Icheon, Korea
- Xi’an University, School of Architecture, Xi’an, China
- FuLe International Ceramic Art Museums, Shaanxi, China
- Archie Bray Foundation Center for the Ceramic Arts, Helena, Montana
- Neeson Murcutt Architects Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia
- Iredale Pederson Hook Architects, Perth, Australia
- McKinnion Design, Melbourne, Australia
- Phillip Smith Conwell Architects, Queensland, Australia
- Guida Moseley Brown Architects, Deakin, Australia
- m3architecture Firm, Brisbane, Australia
- Rowan Opat Architecture Firm, Sydney, Australia
- Leigh Wooley Architecture Pty Ltd, Hobart, Tasmania
- Dr. I Chi Hsu, Beijing, China
- Julius Friedman, Louisville, Kentucky
- Beth Lo, Missoula, Montana
- Bill Kremer, Cassopolis, Michigan
- Paul Kuharic, South Bend, Indiana
- Dr. Wesley Mark, Elkhart, Indiana
- Dr. Daniel & Linda Burns, Elkhart, Indiana
- Steve & Tracy Bollero, Elkhart, Indiana
- CAA, College Art Association, 2005 - Present
- NCECA, National Council of Education in Ceramic Arts, 1998 - Present
- Ceramics Victoria, 2007 - Present
- Archie Bray Foundation Center for the Ceramic Arts, 2001 - Present
- Michigan Ceramic Art Association. 2011 - Present
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