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Gillian Brent

Sculptor and visual artist with a studio practice and an engagement and participatory practice.

Gillian’s sculpture is rooted in Modernist principles of manipulating form, space and material; she utilises these to address contemporary concerns about the affective power objects have over us, and their intrinsic value.

Gillian constructs sculpture in steel, with additional elements in other materials such as wood, stone, concrete and Jesmonite. She creates spatial and dynamic configurations that synthesise her observations, allude to function and suggest new narratives. Her work process is responsive and organic, using fairly simple techniques to construct sculpture from collections of elements. The space within and around her sculptures becomes activated by the physical materials. Working with balance and gravity is an important of her making process; physical, visual and conceptual.

She has been constructing sculpture using steel rod and sheet for many years. She often use materials which already have a history of being shaped or worked, although she manipulates and forms new materials as well. She has recently begun incorporating found and cast forms and objects into her sculpture to create mass and volume and bring a new focus on subjectivity and shared experience. She often uses discarded domestic objects as sculptural forms, that retain their familiarity yet take on alternative roles in their relation to other materials and to the spatial dynamics of the sculpture. She is interested in how the forms can be repurposed rather than the nostalgia the objects generate, although she isn’t able to control how others see them. She casts some of these objects in Jesmonite, transposing them into a new material to alter their physicality and remove them another step from their history.

In parallel with her studio practice, Gillian works as an artist in a learning and engagement context on arts projects, public commissions and research programmes in partnership with galleries, universities, public and community organisations.



Solo exhibitions
2018 - 'What are we going to do with all this Stuff?'. DINA, Sheffield
2008 - 'Thicket', Persistence Works, Sheffield
2006 - 'Outlook', Derby Museum & Art Gallery, Derby
2006 - 'Outlook', Pickford's House Museum, Derby
2006 - 'Outlook', The Architecture Centre, Bristol
2004 - 'Surface Tension', Harley Gallery, Welbeck, Nottinghamshire
2001 - 'Standing Ground', Wysing Arts, Cambridge
2001 - 'Timesight', 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe
2000 - 'Building Sight', Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery, Doncaster
1999 - New steel sculpture, The Orangery, Rufford Craft Centre, Nottingham
1999 - 'Steel placement', Sanctuary Courtyard, Upper Chapel, Sheffield
1998 - 'Household Names' , Stockport Art Gallery, Stockport
1994 - Wall-based Sculpture, Dean Clough Galleries, Halifax
1990 - Woodlands Art Gallery, London
1988 - Worcester City Art Gallery

Group exhibitions

2023-24 - 'Talking Sculpture: Dialects of Making', Vessel, York St John University.
2023 - Still Here: Women Making Abstract Sculpture, A.P.T. Gallery, London.
2022 - Winter Group Show, Linden Hall Studio, Deal, Kent.
2022 - Harley Open 2022, Harley Gallery, Welbeck, Nottinghamshire.
2021 - Winter Group Show, Linden Hall Studio, Deal, Kent.
‘Who Are We? – Navigating Race, Class and the City’, Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, London.
2021 - ‘We Are Still Here – Four Women Making Abstract Sculpture’, Exchange Place Studios, Sheffield.
‘Matter Out of Place’, Material Voice, Yorkshire Artspace Persistence Works, Sheffield.
2020 -  Winter Group Show, Linden Hall Studio, Deal, Kent.
2020 -  Bloc Members Show 2020, Sheffield.
‘Opening Matters’, This Stuff Matters, Unit 3 projects, London.
2019 - 'What is the Matter? Materials, Commodities, Narratives', Kelham Island Museum, Sheffield
2019 - Testing:2019, Unit 3 Project, London
2011 - Creekside Open, APT Gallery, London
2007 - Annual exhibition, Newby Hall Sculpture Park, Ripon (since 2002)
2004 - 'Secret Garden', Millennium Galleries, Sheffield
2000 - Sampled, Rotherham Art Gallery
1999 - Inside Out, Art Co, Leeds
1998 - House Room, Ruskin Craft Gallery, Sheffield
1998 - Two Person Exhibition with Monair Hyman, Wrexham Arts Centre
1996 - Engineering Art, Swan Hunter Shipyard, Wallsend
1996 - Outer Limits, Two Person Show, Mid Pennine Gallery, Burnley
1993 - Metal Sculpture, Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham

2012 - Underscore, The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield

Public commissions
2021 - ‘Seats and table’, Bashley Road Travellers Site, North Acton, London.
2017 - ‘Interconnect’, Nottingham YMCA
2016 - ‘School of Makers’, wall panels, Manor Lodge Primary School, Sheffield.
2014 - ‘Ocean chest’, handling artwork for people with Dementia, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham.
2013 - 'Worry nuts' & 'Untangling memories', Leicestershire Open Museum, Leicestershire
2012 - 'Bird's Eye View', Laughton Common, commissioned by Rotherham MBC
2007 - 'From the undergrowth', Fairholmes Visitor Centre, Derbyshire
2007 - 'Rain:slow filter:clean water', Manor Fields Sustainable Urban Drainage System, Sheffield
2007 - Ten 'megaflowers', Edlington Victoria Primary School, nr Doncaster
2006 - Lead artist, Westfield School PFI new build, Sheffield
2006 - 'Seven ages', Southmead, Bristol
2006 - Window screens, Greenhill Library, Sheffield
2005 - 'Megaflowers', Woodseats Junior School, Sheffield
2005 - Sculpture sign, Brazley Community Centre, Bolton
2003 - Lead artist, new build Space for Sports and Art, Netherthorpe Primary School, Sheffield 2003 - Lead artist, new build Space for Sports and Art, Southey Green Junior School, Sheffield

Gallery learning
2010-present - Artist, The Hepworth Wakefield
2009-2023 - Associate Artist, Nottingham Contemporary
2019 - David Smith workshops, Yorkshire Sculpture Park
2016 - Art Sheffield tours for young people, Site Gallery, Sheffield
2015 - 'Learning Together' action research with families, Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
2012 - Chatsworth Education Trust, Chatsworth House, Derbyshire.
2007 - Shape of Ideas, Tate Liverpool/Rolls Royce , Liverpool and Derby
2005 - Particolare=detail, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham 
2004 - Shape of Ideas, Tate Liverpool/Rolls Royce, Liverpool and Derby

2010 - 'Wall garden', Bollo Brook Youth Centre, South Acton, London
2009 - 'Changing space', Creative Partnerships Sheffield, Stannington Infants School, Sheffield 2009 - Sculpture for Travellers' sites made with young people, Southwark Travellers Action Group, London
2009 - Three year change school programme, Creative Partnerships, Norfolk Community Primary School, Sheffield 2009 - Two year change school programme, Creative Partnerships, Armthorpe Tranmoor Primary School, Doncaster
2007 - Inside out, Creative Partnerships, Sir Harold Jackson Primary School, Sheffield
2007 - Looking to the Sky, CapeUK/Creative Partnerships Sheffield, Manor Lodge Community Primary School, Sheffield
2006 - Creative partner , Creative Partnerships Sheffield, Spring Lane College Inclusion Support Unit, Sheffield
2005 - 'Mood mapping', Herringthorpe Junior School, Rotherham

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