Brett Kern’s contemporary pop sculptures are impressive feats of optical illusion. While made of slip-cast ceramic, they resemble such inflatable toys as dinosaurs, astronauts, and whoopee cushions. Kern frequently sells his whimsical works as merchandise or art multiples; these objects have garnered him more than 40,000 fans on Instagram.
In 2019, the Erie Art Museum mounted a solo show of his sculptures that demonstrated Kern’s fascination with icons and memorabilia from the ’80s and ’90s. Kern creates his sculptures with a mold-making technique that he likens to the process of fossilization. Both preserve history by creating a replica. His brightly colored forms engage with a nostalgia for the past while championing the embrace of childhood pleasures well into adulthood.