Robert Harrison

Robert Harrison – Danish Work Exhibition – Montana Arts Council – Artist Innovation Award 2020

I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel extensively internationally over the past 30 years. One of my brick mentors, Ulla Viotti has been working at a famous brick factory in southern Denmark for many years. The Petersen TEGL brick factory has forged its worldwide reputation with hand-made black fired brick. Christian Petersen owns and runs the factory with global distribution of Petersen TEGL bricks used by some of today’s most famous architects. Through Ulla Viotti, the WABA group of brick artists were invited to work at the factory for a month, creating work for an exhibition and permanent outdoor brick sculptures. In late 2019 I received 3 large wooden crates of work I had made in the Petersen factory from the Danish WABA exhibition. I was thrilled to have my brick pieces in Montana. Concurrently I was honored to receive the 2019–2020 Artist Innovation Award from the Montana Arts Council, which requires an exhibition of the artists work. I was very pleased to be given the opportunity to exhibit my Danish work at the Holter Museum of Art in the spring of 2020.

The exhibition featured a dozen large black-fired brick clay slabs or plates 24” x 24” x 2.5” thick each. The large thick plates had been incised by hand when wet, and then brushed with thick white slip. The gold leaf on interior spaces was applied post firing. The plates illustrate some of my artistic vocabulary of shapes and symbols. Additional works in the exhibition include a series of Petersen TEGL brick houses, a series of tiny hand-built houses grouped together as villages, a few intentionally altered bricks and a collection of Danish flint stones and vintage brick from the edges of the fjords adjacent to the brick factory. The pieces are available with prices on request.