I make art with “stuff” we no longer need, transforming it. My hope is that people will begin to think more about what we throw away, where it goes and finally be inspired to use less of it. This is a hope. In the middle of this, I decided to not only use some of this “stuff” to tell stories about the world around me, but to begin to actively use less of it.
For me being an artist means expressing what I see in the world around me. Looking at what I am curious about, like what birds might be in my yard at any given moment, and asking larger questions of the world, like how climate change is affecting these same birds.
I began my artist career as a basket maker using techniques passed down from ancient times to weave materials I found in the natural world to make baskets. The sociologist in me knew that baskets had been replaced in our current culture with shopping carts and grocery bags. At the same time that I was studying what the indigenous peoples of the world used to make baskets in order to carry and store things, I looked at what we were using for these same purposes today. This propelled me to use human-made societal cast-offs to make baskets, and then sculpture and finally installation art about the large quantity of “stuff” produced and then thrown “away”. Currently I am using plastic bags and textile scraps to make the animals I see around me. And with the help of local communities, I am using plastic debris from our watersheds and oceans to make large-scale environmental installations.
For a detailed description of my work please visit the Contact page. You may also access my CV.
Bryant Holsenbeck – March 2020
- 2022 – Marine Debris Waterfall, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University
- 2022 – Recycled Waterfall, Greenhill Center for NC Art, Spring
- 2019 – Basketry Now: 10th Anniversary Exhibition, National Basketry Organization, Bowling Green, KY
- 2019 – Wrapping Wild: Making Animals Out of Recycled Materials, Arrowmont School of Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN
Teaching and Residencies – Adults
- 2020 – Angels and Animals, via Zoom, Pocosin Arts School of Fine Craft, Columbia, NC, August
- 2019 – National Basketry Conference, Bowling Green, KY
- 2017 – Grampians Texture, Tutor, Halls Gap, Australia
Teaching and Residencies – Kids
- 2022 – Cary Academy
- 2019 – Ocean Installation, Nags Head Elementary School, Nags Head , NC
- 2019 – Olds Elementary School – Raleigh
- 2017 – Big Birds, Community Public Art with Green Hope High School and Town of Cary
Exhibitions and Galleries
- 2022 – H2O: Waterfall and River Installation, GreenHill Center for NC Art, Greensboro, NC
- 2021 — Animals In the Hood, Craven Allen Gallery, Durham, NC
- 2021 – Blue Spiral 1, Asheville, NC
- 2019 – We the Animals, with Kathryn Demarco, Craven Allen Gallery, Durham, NC
- 2018 – Beauty of the Beast, Greenhill Center for NC Art
- 2017 – Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America, a national traveling exhibition sponsored by the University of Missouri
Publications and Awards
- 2019 – Bryant Holsenbeck: Environmental Artist (video) nominated for Best Lifestyle Program Feature/Segment, Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards, WUNC TV, SR. Producer Katy Loebrich
- 2018 – The Last Straw: A Continuing Quest for Life without Disposable Plastic, RCWMS Press, Durham, NC
- 2017 – Bryant is featured in Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America, a “comprehensive treasury (that) will be of vital interest to artists, collectors, curators, and historians of American basketry, textiles, and sculpture.”
- 2009 – Blackbirds, Bottle Caps & Broken Records: Environmental Artist Bryant Holsenbeck at Work, a film by Margaret Morales, produced by RCWMS, Durham, NC