Brant Weiland is a current MFA graduate student at the University of Iowa, focusing on ceramics and sculpture. His work examines how objects and records of the past shape ideas today through questions about the use of land, the preservation of artefacts, and collections of personal heirlooms. The multimedia sculptures and installations incorporate regional materials into the makeup of the objects, embedding the history of the land alongside narratives of heritage and authorship. Through the excavation of place and analysis of the accumulative strata, he seeks to uncover paradoxes between preservation and ruin, the twisted roots of family history, and the bedrock that supports institutional frameworks.

Artist Statement

My work begins with images and objects familiar to me, cultivated from memories or common mythologies. Utilizing different methods of preservation, I select materials to mimic decay or relics, supporting the construction with spindly braces or techniques found in excavation. Through text, imagery, and tools, I examine the way symbolic actions and regional affect shape identity. I invite viewers to reflect on the artwork and the role of entropy so we may understand them as contributing factors, built upon layers of experience and chance, progressively interwoven to form a picture of today.

This current work stems from my interest in the history of objects and conservation practices, examining what is represented by the act of excavation, preservation, and display. I am trying to understand how accumulation occurs resulting from habits of daily life and questioning the characteristics recorded by that residue. My responses come in the shape of recreating objects from nearby antiquity, simulating effects of time, and mimicking the staging methods found in museums or archives. As we move from epoch to epoch, shifts occur in the bedrock and fissures expose new features in the landscape, creating a new host of strata to examine. While the lens of history is only able to focus on a fraction of material generated by a society, I see it as a mirror we can hold up to examine our choices through a compression of conscious or unconscious behavior.

Brant Weiland, Warped and Weft, 2020,
Ceramic sculpture encrusted with salt, 50x42x18 in.,
Collection of the artist