Brian Kakas

Artist Statement

“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

Appropriate means of creatively adapting to continual change have been expressed though practices of art, architecture, science and technology. In this body of ceramic works, entitled “Tectonic Perceptions”, my intentions are to incorporate methodologies from the above mentioned practices to create a “new nature” in the structural design of ceramic objects.

These forms are derived from hybridizations of 20th century structural design aesthetics in architecture, and mathematical theories exploring systems of growth, patterns, and dimensions. These theories include: Cartesian Geometry, Mandelbrot Fractals, Golden Ratio, Fibonacci Sequences, and Gnomic Spirals, and are applied to the ratios and dimensions of segments within the modular mold fabrication system.

The works are intended to incorporate mathematical theories which influence, but do not establish finite parameters. Numerical components of the theories remain irrational; concepts of the ratios are focused upon allowing the creation of intuitive sculptures.

Travels throughout Asia and an array of rich cultural experiences in China brought me new perceptions of cultural identity, history, and space. These encouraged me to explore relationships between the strong elements of tradition and the modern identities rapidly evolving around the world. Exploration of these interrelationships led to the new ceramic designs.

It is my intent to find a natural form by staying true to the chosen material and its inherent properties. I seek a formal vocabulary that allows sculptural vessels to exhibit the qualities of unique handcrafted objects of traditional cultures, along with those of contemporary massproduced objects. Synergism, and patterns and structures--of animals, plants and insects-- have strong influence over the forms created.

-- Brian Kakas


Brian Kakas is an Associate Professor of Ceramics at Northern Michigan University. He received his MFA in ceramics from The University of Notre Dame in 2007. He has been in over 50 solo and group exhibitions and is part of international museum permanent collections in China, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, Romania and the United States. He was awarded the Silver Prize at the 5th Korean World Ceramic Biennale at the World Exposition Ceramic Center. Other career level exhibitions include the 1st Kaolin Grand Prix for International Ceramic Arts Exhibition in China, Cluj International Ceramic Biennale held in Romania and the 3rd Jakarta International Biennale in Indonesia. Kakas was a Demonstrator at the 45th National Council of Education on the Ceramic Arts Conference. Most recently, his research with raw materials and soda vapor kiln firing methods has resulted in the construction of the 1st Soda Kiln of Indonesia at the Gaya Ceramic Design International Artists Studios.