Rick & Laura
Rick Brown was born in 1948 in Philadelphia, PA. Laura Brown was born in 1952 in Atlanta, GA.
They met while in art school at the University of Georgia in 1970. They have been on a collaborative creative journey ever since.
Rick completed his BFA in sculpture from University of Georgia in 1973 and a MFA from Washington University in St. Louis 1975. Rick later returned to Harvard University where he completed a Masters degree in Architecture 1987.
Laura completed her BFA in sculpture from Mass College of Art and Design in 1993 and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts in 1995.
They both are on the 3-D faculty at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, MA.
Rick and Laura have a passion for making. They work with a wide range of materials, tools and techniques which has led them to working in many media. Their sculptural works are large-scale environmental installations reflecting their pleasure in the physicality of building. They like to make pieces bigger then themselves and generally site specific installations, which always present a number of unknowns encountered while making a work for the first time in and on a unique location. Each new piece presents a new set of challenges and there always exists the possibility that a piece could fail. These components result in a dynamic working environment that they perceive as a learning/making adventure! Their work has is influenced by family, nature, travel, culture and history. Often the pieces are ephemeral and have what they call a ‘natural life’ reflecting a sense of time or suggest notions of birth, life and death.
In recent years they have worked exclusively with distressed, storm damaged or standing dead trees. They claim that trees are perhaps our most important partners on the planet. Trees are noble symbols and reflect the spirit of life. The context of each selected tree creates a “personage “ where the tree becomes a natural marker referencing a particular person that unites the person, the site and the history.
They have traveled and exhibited works locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
They have received numerous grants and awards including the Fulbright Scholars Award, Ford Foundation Award, Massachusetts Cultural Council Awards, Massachusetts Artists Foundation Finalist, Ford Foundation Grant, Massachusetts Council Finalist; National Endowment for the Arts grant for installations at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park; Visible Republic Planning Grant; Ohio Arts Council, “Aid to Individual Artists”; They have exhibited at the The DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Chesterwood National Trust, Federal Reserve Gallery, Boston, Smithsonian Museum, , Washington, D.C., Carelicum Museum in Joensuu, Finland, Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, Duxbury Art Complex, Jacksonville University, University of Massachusetts, University of Texas, Ohio State University, and University of Georgia. They both are particularly proud of their Distinguished Alumni Awards. In February of 2015, Rick received the Distinguished Teaching of Art Award from the College Art Association (CAA).
In 2002, Rick and Laura Brown co founded Handshouse Studio, Inc., a non profit educational organization that initiates hands-on projects to explore history, understand science, and perpetuate the arts. Through Handshouse Studio (www.handshouse.org ) they were instrumental in building medieval trebuchets and raising an Egyptian Obelisk for PBS’s NOVA Secrets of Lost Empire Series. They researched and directed the educational project to construct a full scale working replica of America’s first submarine,’ Turtle’ for Discovery Channel and England’s Channel 4, Machines Lost in Time Series. Most recently through Handshouse Studio, they organized and directed Making / History, the Wooden Synagogue Replication Project, replicating full scale a 17th Century Polish Wooden Synagogue, for the permanent core exhibition of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw Poland through educational workshops in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
See www.handshouse.org, www.handshousestudio.org, www.polishsynagogue.com and www.facebook/gwozdziec