Nicolas Darcourt

Artist Statement

Clay, and the ceramic process, allows me to make a permanent record of what filters into my daily experience. A material which is intimately connected to our humanity and can be made to take any form.

As subject matter, I look to the ever developing urban landscape and phenomenon of progress, a shared human experience, relevant to the present and bound by history. I treat the mix of architectural ornament and engineered forms, exposed layers of earth, machinery, industrial fragments and discarded byproduct equally as iconography of advancing civilization. I am fascinated by the simultaneous accumulation of both new and old which overlaps itself as decades pass.

This visual information manifests itself as sculptural objects made along two veins. One is made from piles and stacks of bits and parts, sometimes layered like detritus, improvised and spontaneous. I prefer to remove what is immediately recognizable and use casually abstracted fragments to give the appearance of dismantled and reorganized.

The second vein includes a more specific reference to the wheel or gear, a ubiquitous symbol of engineering technology. Once built, however, I am presenting them as immobile, re-contextualized as trophies on display. Hard edge construction like steel pipes but translated into terra cotta, giving them a softer and more human identity.

-- Nicolas Darcourt


After growing up in Appleton, Wisconsin, Nicolas Darcourt received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Northern Michigan University, and his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. From 2007 to 2009 he was a resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts. His ceramic work has been shown both nationally and internationally, and belongs to a number of private collections. He has been a faculty member at Minnesota State University Moorhead and The University of Minnesota. Nicolas is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Art and Art History Department at Gustavus Adolphus College. With his wife, son, and an assortment of pets, he is living and making ceramic work in the southwest metro of the Twin Cities, Minnesota.