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Brett F. Harvey: The Embodiment of the Timeless Ideal

Soulful Sculpture

Throughout the history, people were interconnected with the universal feelings, ideas and experiences encompassing all humanity. Striving to reach the accepted spiritual and philosophical ideals, they were having similar inner conflicts, eternally synthesizing the masculine principle of the strength and the feminine principle of the vulnerability. In the attempt to integrate these polarities, Brett F. Harvey creates dynamic figurative sculptures that represent the aimed ideal visually.

"Complacent" by Brett F. Harvey, gypsum cement and weathering steel, 2014

“I would like to believe that my inspiration comes from accessing those universal human feelings, and interpreting them through my own contemporary lens.”

Even though Harvey ended up in a four-year graduated program pursuing a degree in painting, during his artistic journey he had realized that, for him, making a sculptural artwork is the most effective way to have a conversation with the observer. Due to the fact that he had been physically active and played sports from a young age, the physicality he had learned from athletics influenced his work, thus inspired him to express his feelings and ideas through creating figurative sculptures that display an understanding of anatomy.

"Denigration" by Brett F. Harvey, gypsum cement and weathering steel, 2017

Flawed Process

Harvey primarily makes sculptures cast in concrete with elements of wood and steel. Nonetheless, his favorite part in the process of making the artwork is the intermediary step, between sculpture as clay, in the beginning, and final casting: working with plaster – a material that reveals every imperfection in an object. In accordance with artist’s personal life philosophy and struggles to become the person and partner he wants to be, his enjoyment in using a plaster as a tool to tell him what he can and cannot get away with in his work, reveals one of the main ideas behind his art: flaws should be dealt with, while aiming for the ideal.

“I think figurative art taps into a part of our brains older than our conception of a modern human.”

"Momentum: Fragment 1" by Brett F. Harvey, engineered cementitious composite and weathering steel, 2016
"Momentum: Fragment 2" by Brett F. Harvey, engineered cementitious composite and weathering steel, 2016
"Momentum: Fragment 3" by Brett F. Harvey, engineered cementitious composite and weathering steel, 2016

Employing human form to represent dichotomy between intimidating strength and vulnerable emotion, Harvey often decides to eliminate the various parts of the body on his sculptures, thus stripping them of as much context as he can and creates a figure that’s as timeless as possible. Combining the universal and personal, the past and present, the artist conveys the basic emotions amongst humanity, inviting us to intellectually practice them and then dive into ourselves to feel them truly.

"Hold" by Brett F. Harvey, gypsum cement and weathering steel, 2015

“I hope the universal nature of these feelings can provoke the viewer to begin an introspective exploration of their own feelings and find the parallels.”

All images copyright of Brett F. Harvey.

You can view more work by Brett on his Instagram and website.

Article written by Katarina Petric

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