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Brett Kern

Biography to Display: 


2007BFA Ceramics, California University of Pennsylvania, California, Pennsylvania

2007Ceramics in China Study Abroad Program, West Virginia University, Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute (JCI), Jiang Xi Province, People's Republic of China

2010MFA Ceramics, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia


2010-2011Artist in Residence, Red Lodge Clay Center, Red Lodge, Montana


2011-2013Adjunct Instructor, Davis & Elkins College, Elkins, West Virginia

2013Instructor, West Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts Program, Davis & Elkins College, Elkins, West Virginia

2013-2015Assistant Professor, Davis & Elkins College, Elkins West Virginia


Brett Kern is known for slip-cast porcelain sculpture as well as hand-sculpted figurative work. Trained as a potter, Kern translates his interest in collecting toys and memorabilia into his work.

Advertising, film, cartoons, toys, and games serve as primary subject matter for Kern. Inflatable toy dinosaurs, space men, and whoopee cushions are slip cast. He likens the casting method to fossilization: thinking of his work as helping to preserve cultural subject matter. Kern's glaze palette includes a series of bright metallic colors for inflatable toy castings.

Other works, known as the Hellenistic Series, are hand sculpted clay. These sculptures also move through the slip-cast process. In this body of work, Kern re-contextualizes classical Greek sculpture (500 BC ̶ 200 AD) as Pop Culture Icons. Figures from television and film serve as the primary subject matter. Surface techniques in the finished state vary but may feature a verdigris-like glaze, “verdigris…  a green or greenish-blue poisonous pigment resulting from the action of acetic acid on copper.”[1] Other finishes include the addition of paint to the surface post-firing.

1. -cited November 7, 2018, 10:30 AM.


Public Collections to Display: 

Jingdezhen Ceramics Museum, Jingdezhen, People’s Republic of China

West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia


Bibliography to Display: 

Hinchman, J. “Playful Art.” The InterMountain Newspaper. October 31, 2015.

Kasey, Pam, The Art of Inflation.” West Virginia Living Magazine, Winter, 2013.

Martin, Brigitte. Humor in Craft. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2012.

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Eye-Popping Oddities.  Ripley Publishing, 2015.  Orlando, FL: Ripley Entertainment, Inc., 2015.




Typical Marks
Form: Sculpture
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Cast
Surface Technique: Glaze
Courtesy Red Lodge Clay Center
Photo: TMP
Courtesy Red Lodge Clay Center
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP

Citation: Kuratnick, Jeffrey. "The Marks Project." Last modified May 4, 2023.