Brian Ferrell is an artist who creates sculpture in functional forms, designing one-of-a-kind furniture and custom tableware. Since 2000, his work has been regularly exhibited in group and solo exhibits on a national level, published in American Craft Magazine, and purchased by private collectors in the US and Europe.
Ferrell was honored with a solo exhibition at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater during the summer of 2008 and participates in numerous group and solo exhibitions. He holds a BFA in jewelry/metals from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and an MFA from the Program in Artisanry at University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth.
I create sculpturally functional objects that can be held in the hand as well as objects that hold or support. My work blends asymmetrical geometry, basic shapes, and gradual shifts in composition. These pieces rely on subtlety, as lines and shapes intersect through careful transitions of form. The interplay of curves, contoured edges, and tapers creates an uncluttered composition, sculptural yet inspired by the function of the object’s purpose.
In my furniture, a mix of exotic woods like Paduak and Purple Heart are complemented with domestic woods such as maple and walnut. In my tableware and hollowware, pewter and various woods continue this exploration between materials, utilizing lines and surfaces to draw one’s eye into a nuanced rhythm of intricate detail and open space. Steel cables glint and direct the eye between, around, and beneath the surfaces. Pewter is sanded to create a radiating pattern of silvery lines terminating at a polished edge. These subtle juxtapositions begin a dialogue between visual and physical balance, precariousness and stability, lines and shapes, positive and negative space.
My work forces the viewer (or user) to be completely aware of the piece by reducing the form beyond the expected. A chair with only two legs leads one to question its construction or stability. It engages the audience in a fresh vision of familiar objects. Steel cable allows me to add strength and reduce bulk to create a light and open design. Some of my tabletops have small irregular surfaces, like topographical maps of wood grain. These irregular surfaces invite the sense of touch, and further the awareness of the composition and its materials. Allowing functional necessities to enhance the form creates these undulating surfaces. This interplay of parts creates an awareness of the entire piece.
Various colors are used to enhance subtle transitions between shapes, or to disguise laminated plywood legs. Translucent or solid, the hand-painted colors enrich the effect of space by emerging out of shadows or wood grain. Subtle variations help to create delicately changing landscapes that fade into one another. Together, these concepts and techniques build complex architecture around very minimal forms.