The work of potter, artist, craftsperson, railway enthusiast and icoclast Barry Brickell. In essays by David Craig and Gregory O'Brien and with both newly commissioned photographs by Haru Sameshima and historic images, His Own Steam: The Work of Barry Brickell charts Brickell's career in its entirety and in the context of his life and times, timed to coincide with a survey exhibition of the same name at The Dowse Art Museum. To begin, an essay by David Craig sketches out Brickell's history and career, then takes us through crucial themes, preoccupations and forms in his work, from sustaining domesticware to the influences of the medieval grotesque and Pacific and Sepik motifs; from realistic murals to bodily 'morphs'. Here Brickell's personal preoccupations with energy and engineering, the body and conservation, are made clear. His most well-kwn forms, for example, the 'spiromorphs', are large-scale spiral creations built from coiled clay, which twist and unfold in curves that parallel the spirals of his railway.
Contributing essayist David Craig is a sociologist at the Universities of Auckland, New Zealand, and of Otago with an interest in New Zealand art and culture and a long association with Barry Brickell. Essayist Gregory O'Brien is a writer, curator and painter whose most recent art book projects are Hanly (Ron Sang, 2012), A Micronaut in the Wide World (AUP, 2011) and Euan Macleod (Piper Press, 2010). Writer, curator, arts consultant and cultural commentator Hamish Keith was a friend and flatmate of Barry Brickell in the 1960s. Haru Sameshima is an award-winning freelance and art photographer, based in Auckland, whose work has illustrated books including Cone Ten Down: Studio Pottery in New Zealand 1945-1980 and The Carver and the Artist: Maori Art in the Twentieth Century.