The Playful Sculptures Of Brick: Tom Freeman Tests Boundaries

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Brick by Tom Freeman Brick by Tom Freeman Image © Bo Wong

Perth-based artist Tom Freeman presents Brick, an exhibition of sculptures testing ceramic processes and earthy materials.


Tom has used common house bricks and merged them with clays, glazes, and found materials which are fired together, resulting in pieces that reference suburbia, locational history, and handmade craft.

Here, Tom pens an open letter about the exhibition.

“I’ve been working on the artworks for my exhibition Brick at Cool Change Contemporary for about the past year. It’s a continuation of my fascination with ceramics that’s been going on for several years now; with this appealingly rough and dirty mud dug from the ground that’s transformed through artists hands and soaring temperatures.

There’s the one aspect of ceramics with deep scientific knowledge and lifelong technical mastery, which is fascinating and alluring in itself, but I tend to come at it from the other end with playful experimentation, trial and error, repeated disasters and sometimes mysterious success. From this fascination with ceramics I started noticing the presence and use of clay in everyday life around me from kitchenware to building and plumbing, electrics and medicine and more.

I’m also very interested in architecture and building, and have been planning my own impending house build for many years, so decided to use a range of found house bricks from my everyday life as the literal building blocks for a series of sculptures.

HomemadeHandmade BoWong
Image © Bo Wong

Using the materiality and forms of each of these varied bricks as the basis for my ideas, I added a whole range of different clays, glazes and other natural materials to hopefully create some interesting results when all fired together in the kiln. Some of the works reference the local histories related to the bricks while others became formal abstracted studies of brick features and architectural forms. Some works transformed into bodily figures while others were pure experimentations in materials and processes.

These will all be displayed in the gallery on custom built shelves that relate to the architecture of the building they’re in, and will include large scale paintings directly on the gallery walls of massed brick forms.
I hope these works are relatable explorations of the everyday that any old punter can check out and find some connection for themselves.”


Brick is on display at Cool Change Contemporary from 2-24 August.

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