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Artist Information

For the past 10 years J Brett Grill has been producing portraits and monuments, which draw on the rich traditions of figurative sculpture. Brett earned a Bachelor’s degree in sculpture from the University of Michigan in 2001 and an MFA in painting at the New York Academy of Art in 2003, both with honors. He has been awarded artist residencies in France and Norway and various grants from the University of Missouri. He has lectured on his own work and historical artistic techniques throughout the Midwest. He has exhibited at various galleries and museums in cities across the nation including Chicago and New York. Brett’s commissioned works can be found at Grand Valley State University, Albion College, the city of Grand Rapids, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, the University of Michigan, the University of Kentucky, the National Archives, the National Statuary Hall Collection of the United States Capitol Building, and the Arizona Capitol Museum. He is also represented in private collections from coast to coast. Brett is currently Associate Professor of Art and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO.


The approach to any project is rooted in research. With the aim to balance both private remembrances and shared or collective memory in the sculpture, information is gathered from both public and private sources. Because the final sculpture must crystallize all the important aspects of a history or a life in one moment, the process goes through several iterations on a variety of different scales. Through this process an understanding is developed; how each movement of a body, fold in a piece of clothing, or nuance of expression can work in concert to convey distinct aspects of the person or event. Each point in the process is a negotiation with all interested parties so that the collective vision for the project is satisfied. As such, the sculpture and refinements of the final form seek to dignify the subject, with unfailing attention to all of the nuances of both surface and depth.