Brent Crothers

Contact Information

http://www.brentcrothers.com

Gallery

Please contact InLiquid for inquiries, etc

1956 – 2020

“A Tribute to Brent Crothers”

– by Lily Horner

Artist's Biography

In Memoriam

1956 - February 25, 2020

The aollowing is an article from the Baltimore Sun:

Brent Crothers, a prize-winning sculptor who started out working in his family’s plumbing business, died Feb. 25 of kidney failure related to kidney cancer at his home in Creswell in Harford County. He was 64.

“Brent Crothers created such amazing work that is both visually appealing and significantly meaningful,” said retired Baltimore Museum of Art director Doreen Bolger.

Born in Havre de Grace and raised in Perryman, he was the son of Edward Crothers, who had a plumbing business bearing his name, and his wife, Joyce Gahagan. He was a 1973 graduate of Aberdeen High School.

After high school he worked with his father and brothers at Crothers Plumbing, which went by the tagline “Why call others? Call Crothers.” He had a journeyman’s license, did plumbing and drove heavy equipment for the company. He eventually moved into installing solar heating.

Family members said he was raised on a dead-end street, near woods, fields and the Bush River, a setting that informed his love of nature. They said these early experiences would be the basis for his sculptures honoring the environment.

At age 24 he purchased 19 acres on Nova Scotia Road in Creswell near the Stoney Forest. The spot became his sanctuary. He borrowed his father’s equipment, and he, family and friends built a half-mile road and a bridge over a stream.

Mr. Crothers later became an independent contractor with plumbing, electrical and building expertise.

“I purchased 20 acres of undeveloped forest,” he said in a biography. “It was there that I started trusting my intuition and allowed myself to play with the materials of the forest. There I owned the artist in me.”

He initially slept in a camper on his property and had an outdoor shower, one of his early functional sculptures. When December arrived, he sought indoor plumbing and signed up for a course in it at Harford Community College.

“They had a shower in Joppa Hall, and he signed up for a drawing class,” said his wife, Gina Pierleoni. “He found people who were more like him. His teachers told him he was producing the best work they had ever seen there.”

He was given a scholarship at the Maryland Institute College of Art, from which he earned a bachelor’s degree and went on to get a master’s degree at the Reinhart School of Sculpture. He also taught for two semesters at MICA and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine.

While at MICA, he had a sculpture studio in the former Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s Mount Royal Station.

He also met his future wife at a gathering at his home.

“A friend from the Institute wanted us to meet, we did, and we connected on a lot of different levels," she said.

Mr. Crothers enlarged his home studio. He raised its ceilings to accommodate his sculpture. He also bought a new wood stove.

“He was a really resourceful guy. He saved everything,” his wife said. "Everything from his former life became the basis for his sculpture. Things destined to become landfill items became the materials for his sculptures. He believed that sculpture is very much about showing relationships between unlikely materials in a new way.”

Mr. Crothers salvaged fallen trees. He collected cedar wood trunks and limbs and bundled them into bundles. These cedar bundles became the basis of sculptures that spoke to his sense of the environment.

“This he achieved by using repurposed materials, often those that would otherwise clutter or even threaten the natural environments they are left in — from cut-down tree trunks and branches and recycled stair treads to rubber hoses and abandoned toilet seats,” said Ms. Bolger, the retired BMA director.

“Many of these [sculptures] were displayed outdoors, in the potentially impacted settings. His moving exhibition at The Baltimore Museum of Art in 2014, when he won the distinguished Baker Artist Award, remains a high point in my time at the museum and a reminder of how a truly gifted artist can keep us focused on the important issues of our time and place. He and his remarkable work will be sorely missed.”

Mr. Crothers wrote, "Two weeks into graduate school, September 11th happened, which textured my two years there. It brought home the fragility of life and made me re-evaluate what it means to be an American. Before that experience, I would have never considered using the peace sign as part of my art work.

(Jaques Kelly, "Brent Crothers, plumber turned prize-winning sculptor, dies", BaltimoreSun, 2020)

 

Sculptor Brent Crothers has been working professionally for over 30 years from Stoney Forest in Harford County, Maryland where he built his own home and studio. He earned his MFA and BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.

Brent Crothers’ sculpture is featured in many permanent collections including: The Corcoran Museum of Art, The Hechinger Collection, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and The Delaware Art Museum. He was selected as a semi-finalist for The Sondheim Prize in 2010 and 2012. Crothers has also received six Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Awards, most recently in 2017. He was awarded a Baker Artist Award b-grant in 2012 and the Mary Sawyer Baker Prize in 2014. In 2016, Crothers received a Franz and Virginia Bader grant to help finish a piece he has been working on for several years.

Recent solo exhibitions include venues such as: Urban Outfitters Corp. Head Quarters in Philadelphia, PA; Anthropologie’s Gallery at Rockefeller Center, NY, NY; Hillyer Art Space in Washington, DC; Haven Arts in the Bronx, NY; and Duke University in Durham, NC.

Recent group exhibitions include: Baltimore Museum of Art in Baltimore, MD; The Portsmouth Museum in Portsmouth, VA; The Historical Society of Washington in DC; Rowan University Art Gallery, Glassboro in NJ; and The Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, DC.

Artist's Statement

Don’t we all want to express something about this world we find ourselves living in? I’m not a writer, so what I do to voice my concerns, my dreams, and my questions is to wrestle, rip, stack, bend, wrap, tie, bind, burn, hang, pile, cut, chisel, nail, solder, weave, bolt, drill, beat, and grind materials in such ways to create sculptural forms that have their own stories to tell. These pieces are part of a searching dialogue between me and the world. At the root of this work is a respect for nature and all the materials that surround us. More and more I’m incorporating unappreciated and discarded materials, transforming them into small communities to create forms and giving the materials new life.

In my art I’ve come to believe that there can be no separation between humanitarian, social, political, and environmental issues. We need creative thinking in every aspect of our lives today more than ever.

Selected Exhibitions

Solo
2017
Brent Crothers: New Work, URBN Outfitters Headquarters, Philadelphia, PA

2013
Brent Crothers: Water Wars, Philadelphia Flower Show, Philadelphia, PA
Facilitated by InLiquid; Curator: Chessia Kelley

2011
Brent Crothers, Anthropologie’s Gallery at Rockefeller Center, New York, NY

Brent Crothers, Hillyer Art Space, Washington, DC

2010
Sculpture 1275: Brent Crothers, 1275 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, DC

2006
Brent Crothers: 20 Years of Sculpture, Chesapeake Gallery, Harford Com. College, Bel Air, MD

2005
Brent Crothers: Why Not Care?, Haven Arts, Bronx, NY

Brent Crothers: Where Are We Going With This?, Louise Jones Brown Gallery, Duke University, Durham, NC

Brent Crothers: Take Nothing For Granted, Galerie Francoise e.s.f., Baltimore, MD

2001
Brent Crothers: Why Care?, Galerie Francoise e.s.f., Baltimore, MD

1998
Brent Crothers: New Works, Galerie Francoise e.s.f., Baltimore, MD

1995
Brent Crothers: Recent Sculptures, Galerie Francoise e.s.f., Baltimore, MD

1994
Brent Crothers, Mosely Gallery, University of Maryland eastern Shore, Princess Anne, MD

Group
2019
Into the Woods, InLiquid at Park Towne Place, Philadelphia, PA

Sculpture in the Glen, InLiquid at the Burches, Gladwyne, PA

2016
Between the Covers: Altered Books in Contemporary Art, Everhart Museum, Scranton, PA

Vanishing Beauty, Courthouse Galleries, Portsmouth Museum, Portsmouth, VA

2015
Baker Artist Award Show for 2014 & 2015, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD

Syngery, Eisenhower Library, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

2013
Spatial Translations InLiquid at Drexel University’s Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2012
Centennial Juried Exhibition, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE

2012 Baker Artist Awards Grantees, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD

Structure as Language, Montgomery College, Silver Spring, MD

2011
InLiquid at URBN, Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA

Currents: Art and the Environment, Courthouse Galleries, Portsmouth Museum, Portsmouth, VA

2010
Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize Semi-Finalists Exhibition, Decker Gallery, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Baltimore, MD

The Ordinary Expands, Silber Gallery, Goucher College, Baltimore, MD

GAPS, Greater Reston Arts Center, Reston, VA

The Language of Objects, Catholic University, Washington, DC

Porous Borders, The Historical Society Museum of Washington, DC

Crossroads: Determining the Authentic Visual Voice, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ

2009
Bilateral Engagement, Art Museum of The Americas, Washington, DC

American Artists, Thaumaturgist Gallery, Beijing, China

Hunter Gatherer, CCBC Art Gallery, Catonsville, MD

2008
Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize Semi-Finalists Exhibition, Decker Gallery, MICA, Baltimore, MD

Men on Maps, Haven Arts, Bronx NY

2007
Intervene/Activate, The Union Gallery, College MD

2006
Gallery in the Garden, Hawk Mountain, Orwigsburg, PA

Art of the Word, Haven Arts, Bronx, NY

The Art of Barter, Sowebo Art Gallery, Baltimore, MD

2005
Sticks and Stones: The Making of a Sculpture Garden, Devault, PA

2004
War or Peace, Warehouse Gallery, Washington, DC

A Walk in the Woods, Carroll County Arts Council, Westminster, MD

2003
Sculpture at Wildwood, Wildwood Park, Wildwood, PA

2002
Eight From Baltimore, Eleven Eleven Sculpture Space, Washington, DC

2001
Out of Tradition, Delaware Center For Contemporary Art, Wilmington, DE

Snapshot, Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD

2000
Sculpture at Evergreen, Baltimore, MD
Juror: Michael Brenson

Sculpture, Grounds For Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ

1999
It’s Sculpture, outdoor exhibition, Arena Stage, Washington, DC

1998
Sculpture on Site, 2-year outdoor exhibition, Harford Community College, Bel Air, MD

1997
Tools As Art: Exploring Metaphor, National Building Museum, Washington, DC

Landscape: An Exhibition of Sculpture, The Art Museum of The Americas, Washington, DC

1996
The Delaware Art Museum Biennial, Wilmington, DE

ArtSites ‘96 Tudor Place, Washington, DC
Sponsored by the International Sculpture Center

16th Annual Invitational Sculpture Exhibition, Montpelier Cultural Arts Center, Laurel, MD

1995
The Book As, Gallery 10, Washington, DC

Sculpture Now, Washington Square, Washington, DC
Curator: Virginia Mecklenberg, National Museum of American Art

1994
Across Borders/Sin Fronteras, The Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC

1993
Sculpture Tour 92-93, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN

Inside The Mid-Atlantic, Outside Tradition, Maryland Hall For The Creative Arts, Annapolis, MD

Sculpture at Liberty Rotunda, International Sculpture Center Conference, Philadelphia, PA

1991
Art In The Atrium, Columbia Square, Washington, DC
Curator: Joshua P. Smith

Mandala, 1 year outdoor installation, Maury Park, Arlington Arts Center, VA

1990
Society, installation, School 33 Art Center, Baltimore, MD
Juror: Martin Puryear

Professional Experience

2014 & 2004
Visiting Artist, Harford Community College, Bel Air, MD

2009
Adjunct Sculpture Instructor, University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD

2001-2000
Adjunct Sculpture Instructor, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD

2000
Guest lecturer, Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ

2000, 1998, 1992
Visiting Artist, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD

1997
Artist workshop, “Organic Form in Space”, Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, D.C.

1994
Artist-in-residence University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, MD

Visiting Artist, Towson State University, MD

1993
Visiting Artist, Neumann College, Aston, PA

Awards and Honors

2016
Franz and Virginia Bader Grant, Philadelphia, PA

2014
Mary Sawyer Baker Prize, Baltimore, MD

2012
b Grant, Baker Artist Awards, Baltimore, MD

2010 & 2008
Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize Semi-Finalist

2017, 2013, 2011, 2009, 1997 & 1995
Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award

2003
Amalie Rothschild Rinehart Award

1993
Artists’ Fellowship Inc. Grant

1988
Skowhegan Scholarship

Collections

The Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE
The Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington, DC
Anthropologie, Philadelphia, PA
The Hechinger Collection, Largo, MD
Urban Outfitters, Philadelphia, PA
Michael & Nathalie Beatty, Baltimore, MD

Education

2003
Rinehart School of Sculpture, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
MFA

1989
Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
BFA

1988
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Madison, ME