Interview : Sharon Brill evokes her new series ‘Emergences’

15 June 2020

Heavily influenced by the natural world, Sharon Brill reveals her new series ‘Emergences’. Presented on Artistics, these hybrid works, halfway between sculpture and painting, combine a unique formal reflection with an intensified sensitivity for the natural world. The artist’s volume of work is enhanced by these wall sculptures, where porcelain, combined with other materials, seem moved by invisible forces. Driven by greater attention to what is hidden, the artist starts with a flat surface to show off other movements seen in the natural world: not just the sea (her main source of inspiration in previous pieces) but even more invisible movements, that emerge from the depths of the earth.


Crevice 2 by Sharon Brill


Could you tell us about your last series, ‘Emergences’?

This series was inspired by several things, the combination of which allowed the series to emerge. Rock forms and ground formations that I assimilated by studying marine landscapes and sketches I made in the desert. I continually kept collecting porcelain fragments that were broken at various stages in the process, and at the same time searched for a way to capture movement in my sculptures in a condensed and precise amount. All of this, with an instinctive feeling I had for a long time until they developed and took shape.

Speaking about this series, you said: "I seek what is hidden in the depths of a  shape, beyond the visible" which sound like a metaphysical mission. Is there such a dimension in you work?

This sentence has a double meaning: firstly, it describes the way I work, since I start with bits of material heaped into one pile and then dig into them, transforming the shape, opening the outer layers of material which are on top to reveal hidden shapes in the depth of the mass. The process essentially moves intuitively and demands full concentration and attendance. Looking at my work and in the context of my life, I find the metaphorical layer for the search ‘in the depths, looking for the hidden’. And from that observation, I became aware of the connections between subconscious processes and inner mental pursuits and their expression through the material; in that sense, the search is metaphysical.


Inspirations of Emergences series - Sharon Brill


Your work, although abstract is strongly evocative of the natural world. To start with, could you tell us more about your own relationship with nature? How does it inspire you? How does your direct environment influence your work? 

I live with my family in a small northern town next to the Mediterranean coast in the West, at the foot of Mount Carmel in the East. The sea and nature in general, give me the mental space and a full feeling, which are essential for me to be creative. Being with nature, gives me a feeling connection to a deep essence. That feeling is blurred and depressed when I’m in an urban environment where I often feel sensory overflow, as if everything is too much – too strong, too noisy, way too smelly… Incessant restlessness and an excess of stimuli…  

Staying in nature, in the changing landscapes of the sea, woods or desert allows me to connect with simplicity, the natural changing movement, thus allowing new and different perspectives on the familiar, the obvious and the emotional world. Furthermore, I absorb those primeval natural views, landscapes, sensory experiences, and they are ‘recorded’ in my intuitive subconscious library. They later emerge and are revealed in my work through shapes, lines and movements.

You exclusively work with porcelain. What led you to choose this material and what do you like most about it: as a material to work with but also in respect to its visual qualities?

I found porcelain at the beginning of my sculptural journey, and it is the time I decided to leave the material exposed and to allow movement, the shapes and the spaces to be seen through light and shade. The white material and its hue had an essential meaning. I loved the delicacy of porcelain with its elegance and inner glow, the way it captures the light. Therefore, despite the difficulty of working with it (it is fragile, it cracks and shrinks…), it is worth the effort. For me, its final polish highlights it’s glow with a soft silk sheen.

In some works of the new series the porcelain is there but hidden as it unites with the other materials with a uniform coverage.  Still, the delicate and smooth shapes that are possible with porcelain, more than with another ceramic materials, still make me choose it.



Be-Formed by Sharon Brill


The ‘Emergence’ series also marks a change in scale and form. Most of your previous sculptures were relatively small and could be held in one hand or both hands, whereas the ‘Emergence’ series is made of larger wall sculptures. Where does this change come from? How do you explain the in-between nature of these artworks, part sculptural and part pictorial?

When I started this series, my idea was to work on a wall, to use the wall as a reference area, as a surface behind which/inside which there is a constant instances and movement which, at a certain time, seems to burst out and reveal itself. But of course, if I had worked directly on a wall, the works would have had to remain in my studio :). Therefore, I began to work with uniform boards of relatively small size (40 x 40cms) as if they were a piece of wall. Now I feel the need to expand, to work on an even larger surfaces and within those surfaces, refine the amount of movement, the volume and depth of the hatching and its relationship with the smooth areas.

I see this series more as bas-relief than as paintings. From the viewer's perspective, I would like him/her to feel as if they were looking downwards from a bird's-eye view. In the new works that I am currently working on, the bigger ones, there will be an option of hanging from different sides i.e., playing with the hanging direction. It fascinates me how rotating the work at 90 or 180 degrees changes the connections and images that emerge in looking at them.

Do you think your practice will change after the pandemic?

I hope to stay open to change, both in the way I work and on a personal level - it is probably more accurate to see it as a constant development, coming from the process of being creative, to concentrate on whatever wants to be conveyed. I hope and strive for development, I believe it is part of the way to live my life. I hope this will be reflected in my works.



Emergence 2 by Sharon Brill 


Sharon Brill's studio