Brick Red

01.14.144:46 PM ET

The Fine Art of Recycling

G. William Webb turns old bricks into new sculpture.

This 14-inch terracotta drum is called “Quantity”, and it’s a days-old work by G. William Webb, now on view in a group show at the little Room East gallery in New York. At first it comes across as a supremely elegant example of modernist formalism – a kind of apotheosis or archetype of the shape that a potter’s wheel most naturally forms.  It turns out, however, that there’s a backstory. Webb made his clay from ancient bricks that he found on walks in Brooklyn, then smashed to a powder with a sledge hammer. The darker dot on top is actually a hole into the drum, filled to the brim with Webb’s raw brick dust. So the piece is still about archetypal ceramics, but this time understood as having a history.

For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit BlakeGopnik.com/archive.

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