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His Own Steam
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The work of potter, artist, craftsperson, railway enthusiast and iconoclast Barry Brickell. In essays by David Craig and Gregory O'Brien and with both newly commissioned photographs by Haru Sameshima and historic images, His Own Steam: The Work of Barry Brickell charts Brickell's career in its entirety and in the context of his life and times, timed to coincide with a survey exhibition of the same name at The Dowse Art Museum. To begin, an essay by David Craig sketches out Brickell's history and career, then takes us through crucial themes, preoccupations and forms in his work, from sustaining domesticware to the influences of the medieval grotesque and Pacific and Sepik motifs; from realistic murals to bodily 'morphs'. Here Brickell's personal preoccupations with energy and engineering, the body and conservation, are made clear. His most well-known forms, for example, the 'spiromorphs', are large-scale spiral creations built from coiled clay, which twist and unfold in curves that parallel the spirals of his railway.
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About the Author

Contributing essayist David Craig is a sociologist at the Universities of Auckland, New Zealand, and of Otago with an interest in New Zealand art and culture and a long association with Barry Brickell. Essayist Gregory O'Brien is a writer, curator and painter whose most recent art book projects are Hanly (Ron Sang, 2012), A Micronaut in the Wide World (AUP, 2011) and Euan Macleod (Piper Press, 2010). Writer, curator, arts consultant and cultural commentator Hamish Keith was a friend and flatmate of Barry Brickell in the 1960s. Haru Sameshima is an award-winning freelance and art photographer, based in Auckland, whose work has illustrated books including Cone Ten Down: Studio Pottery in New Zealand 1945-1980 and The Carver and the Artist: Maori Art in the Twentieth Century.

Reviews

"A truly marvelous piece of publishing--from the beautiful end papers and French folds to the superb design and spectacular photographs and artwork, all combined with Gregory O'Brien's scholarship and accessible style make this is a very special and remarkable book." --Graham Beattie on "A Micronaut in the Wide World" "[T]his well-researched and attractively illustrated book gives the reader a timely insight into the life and works of this relatively unknown expatriate New Zealand artist and illustrator." --"Art News New Zealand" on "A Micronaut in the Wide World" "Graham Percy was a lovely man with a never-ending joy and delight in detail. This is the book he deserved. Perhaps more a collection of thoughtful essays than biography, it nonetheless richly fills in the life of the artist who made the extraordinary drawings that rollick around on its pages." --Hamish Keith, "Metro", on "A Micronaut in the Wide World" "The book is witty and moving, chapters are short, well-written muses on particular scenes in the artist's life, and there are an abundance of illustrations to lose oneself in." --Emma Morris, "Block", on "A Micronaut in the Wide World" "O'Brien's description of Percy and Mahr's art as a type that 'has a rare capacity to accommodate innocence and wonder without excluding knowledge, history and intelligence' could equally be applied to both "Back and Beyond" and "A Micronaut in the Wide World"." --Jamie Hanton, Landfall Online "This book is an easy, charming delight" --Matt Bowler, "Nelson Mail", on "A Micronaut in the Wide World" "The book itself is attractive, its glossy pages give a pleasing weight, in more ways than one, to the cavalcade of imagery which dominates the text." --Stella Ramage, "NZ Books", on "A Micronaut in the Wide World" ""A Micronaut in the Wide World" deeply enriched my understanding of this artist's life and work." --Gavin Mclean, "Otago Daily Times", on "A Micronaut in the Wide World" "This study of Barry Brickell, who at the age of 77 is one of New Zealand's most iconic artists/craftsmen, also conservationist and railway enthusiast, is timely, and as a consequence of it his work is sure to gain the wider recognition it deserves." --Robert Sanderson, The Log Book

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