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 Stephen Braun  (20/21st century)

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Lived/Active: Montana      Known for: satirical raku figure sculpture

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Sculptor Stephen Braun seeks to create a piercing visual language, one that motivates us, if not to act, then to think differently. Out of the human figure and an ever-evolving inventory of icons, Braun constructs allegories that reflect fiercely held concerns. We often respond first to the wry humor and fiery wit of these articulate tableaux. Their sly titles, too, lead us to chuckle at uncomfortable truths: Talkin’ Trash, Just One More Little Bite, Race to the Top, My Car Thing, Collateral Damage, Freedom-lovin’ Patriot, Tele Prompted.

Braun’s themes may be familiar-environmental degradation; excessive consumption; tragedies of war; alienation from any semblance of the real-but his works somehow render these tropes both fresh and urgent. His totemic sculptures possess uncanny presence; they haunt and prod us. They are not jokes, though they may appear jocular. Instead they touch us in some deeper place.
Braun’s icons, which swarm about his figures like nettlesome insects, derive from many different realms: forms of transportation (automobiles, airplanes, boats), human anatomy (penises and sperm cells, uteruses and ovaries), the natural world (fishes and stones, the planets, and especially the earth itself), sources of energy (the oil barrel, the atomic symbol), various media (especially television and the Internet); an array of toxins (“arsenic, dioxin, and the host of chlorine combinations”), and every consumer product imaginable.

- Rick Newby

Biography from Missoula Art Museum:
Stephen Braun, Whitefish, has studied at UM and graduated with a BA in Anthropology. His figurative and narrative sculptures often address environmental, political, social, and consumerism concerns.

He states of his work, “I first started playing in clay over thirty years ago and I am still at it. In 1979, I attended a seminar at UM with Pete Voulkos, Rudy Autio, Robert Brady, etc and I was hooked by the many possibilities and approaches there are of clay!”

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