School of Art and Design Alumni Exhibition 2021

Wellington B. Gray Gallery

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Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge

Janice Hardison Faulkner Gallery


Brett Beasley
Graduated 2017

An alarming percentage of humanity lives with medically diagnosed chronic diseases. Sometimes these diseases are invisible illnesses, not apparent at first or even second glance. Many times, people put up a fa├žade of normality and hide behind a mask of denial. Regardless of healthy life choices, a chronic, debilitating illness affects day-to-day activities.

My life was flipped upside down when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS is an autoimmune disease that causes damage to the nervous system through demyelination of nerves in the brain. Fortunately, medication allows me to carry on a normal life. Unfortunately, flare-ups still occur. Though it may not be apparent to others, the destructive internal effects have physical consequences on my body.

Through my sculptures, I reference this disguise of wellness. Internal damage is caused by a disease, but on the exterior, there is a deceptive rigid structure. The coil-built framework is cloaked in a metallic bronze glaze to imply strength and integrity. Conversely, the interior geometric shapes erupt with a volcanic and reactive glaze suggestive of a growing illness. All the while, the entire piece is susceptible to destruction, as ceramics is fragile and easily broken if mistreated- similar to an ill patient. The vulnerability of a structure, whether it be the human body or a work of art, can be an opportunity to express empathy and communication.

For a complete visual journey of the range of artworks I create, visit or @BeasleyCeramics on Instagram.

Exude, Mid-range stoneware, Multiple Glazes, 4.5″ x 3.5″ x 3.5″, 2017