October 7, 2011 - January 1, 2012
Reception: May 24, 2024 at -62169984000

The Narrows Center is excited to present “The Art of the Brick,” featuring sculptures and artwork created out of iconic LEGO® bricks by New York based artist Nathan Sawaya. The exhibit will present 32 awe-inspiring works including large scale sculptures and oversized mosaic portraits. Sawaya uses only toy building blocks as his artist’s medium. The resulting and captivating artwork ranges from whimsical to complex and will present a new perspective on imagination and creativity.
“The Art of the Brick” is the first exhibition focusing exclusively on LEGO® as an art medium. Sawaya’s ability to transform LEGO® bricks into something new, his devotion to scale and color perfection and the way he conceptualizes the action of the subject matter, enables him to elevate an ordinary toy to the status of fine art. Sawaya has taken a small scale toy and transformed it into one of the largest and most popular exhibitions touring the country.
The Narrows Center will offer school tours led by gallery docents to view, explore and discuss this extraordinary work. This exhibition will stimulate thinking, inspire creativity, pique interest, spark imagination and rethink the question: “What is Art?” Call the Narrows at 508.324.1926 or email for more tours information.
Nathan Sawaya | Artist Statement
When I was a lawyer I quickly came to realize I was more comfortable sitting on the floor creating sculptures than I was sitting in a boardroom negotiating contracts. My personal search for overall happiness paved the way to becoming a fulltime working artist. However, it can’t be said that my experience as a lawyer has not influenced my work as an artist; in fact, some might say it has defined me.
Creating art is my passion. Many of my works center on the phenomena of how everyday life, people and raw emotion are intertwined. Often my art is a reenactment of my personal feelings. I am inspired by my own experiences, emotions and the journeys I am taking.
The primary medium for my work is LEGO® plastic bricks. I use this as a medium because I enjoy seeing people’s reactions to artwork created from something with which they are familiar. Everyone can relate to it since it is a toy that many children have at home. I want to elevate this simple plaything to a place it has never been before. I also appreciate the cleanliness of the medium. The right angles. The distinct lines. As so often in life, it is a matter of perspective. Up close, the shape of the brick is distinctive. But from a distance, those right angles and distinct lines change to curves. It takes weeks to complete a life size human form. The long hours of creating a new piece bring me immense satisfaction. When I am working on a project I enjoy, I completely submerge myself into the project, going into a trance-like state.
On and off, I intentionally intermix subject matter that is steeped in heavy sentiment with the lighthearted and whimsical. The purpose of this is two-fold. I realize families and children are drawn to my art because of the unique medium in which it was created and I welcome that. But it is also a necessary break for me to create whimsy in addition to the construction of the complex human forms. I want to provide a break for the viewer’s eye, as well as a respite for my brain.
Currently, my favorite subject is the human form. I use the male human form to represent the everyman, society, you and me. A lot of my work suggests a figure in transition. It represents the metamorphoses I am experiencing in my own life. My pieces grow out of my fears and accomplishments, as a lawyer and as an artist, as a boy and as a man. The names I give my pieces are generally unsophisticated in nature by design. I purposefully use simple titles to avoid influencing the viewer’s own interpretation of the work. This stems from both my desire for the audience to have a role in the interpretation and my insecurity of defining that role for them. The fundamental purpose to my art is to captivate people for as long as I can keep their attention. I strive to create artwork that is interesting and that is unlike anything they have seen before.

This exhibition is supported in part by a grant from the Fall River Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.