With the soft patinas and gently curving forms of his stainless steel wall pieces, contemporary sculptor Brent Lawrence takes us far into the past. The raised shapes of animals, fish or insects lure us into the prehistoric world of the cave paintings of Central Europe. Born in rural Oregon, Lawrence was fascinated by the natural world around him. He began his road of acquiring the technical skills of a master metal smith with his first welding tool at age eight. Some of his earliest steel sculptures were inspired by the inhabitants of the coastal tide pools he explored as a boy. His next phase of work focused on African animals and later abstract, highly polished works made of sheets of bronze. But Lawrence soon became interested in primitive art and the simplicity of line and the natural colors found in nature. His goal was to create his subjects in stainless steel with applied patinas. After several years of experimentation, Brent succeeded in developing the metal fabrication and patina combinations for his current work. Today, his wildlife, fish and insect images flow across panels of stainless steel with irregular surfaces and natural patina colors reminiscent of ancient cave wall paintings. Lawrence prefers the medium of steel because of its stability in adverse weather conditions. As a result, his panels can be hung outdoors, enriching a natural setting as well as enhancing an indoor wall. Lawrence’s process of hammering, welding and cutting steel is accompanied by the chemicals and heat of patina application. “I am working with fire and smoke and therefore feel a real connection to the cave man. I too leave a legacy with the development of a method by which stone-like textures and wildlife images merge on stainless steel. Along with capturing the ancient feel and emotion of shamanistic images, I use various chemicals, techniques and equipment to recreate the fragile cave wall on a modern surface.” Always ready for new challenges and expanding his repertoire of natural motifs, Lawrence enjoys creating custom works for clients in a wide range of sizes and shapes, single panels, diptychs and triptychs.
Artist's Work (click on an artist image to view larger)