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Brett McDanel



Norman, Oklahoma artist Brett McDanel constructs innovative industrial sculptures from found objects. For the last ten years McDanel has spent his free time scouring the streets and the scrap yards for parts that, to most people, are insignificant. The artist states, “When walking down the street you find a random piece of metal that doesn’t belong there. All by itself, it’s just a piece of metal, but when you place it with other objects, it becomes something bigger... a part of something. All together these creations have a place.”


He relates it to his own life story adding, “I spent half my life lost and then somewhere along the way something clicked and put me where I belong... here working with metal.” Using his background in construction he up-cycles gears, widgets, thingamabobs and other found parts, animating them into action as featherless fiends, clawed cats, humanoid busts, edgy furnishings and otherwise eccentrically whimsical sculpture that often delivers a dark comical mood.


He does not sketch or premeditate the designs. McDanel envisions the pieces assembling in his mind's eye and attacks his hoard of jumbled parts with welding torch and grinder in hand. The resulting assemblages may take hours, days, or weeks, but in every case create an object of whimsy and an astute example of the beautiful grotesque. Brett has created quite a reputation for his found object innovations. So much so that he now finds metal donations delivered to his home lawn and representative gallery on a weekly basis which has dramatically decreased his need to scour for parts and allowed him much more time to assemble them. 


His most recent works have delved into the realm of figural narratives which are direct and highly emotive. McDanel relies on his family and personal experiences as inspiration for his stunning sculptures. His works are collected internationally and the artist is represented in Santa Fe at InArt Gallery and in Oklahoma City at Kasum Contemporary Fine Art.