Not Just Another Brick in the Wall

Taking brick to a new level of plasticity.

This project, which is 25 feet by 40 feet by 2 feet, “had to be structurally sound, connect to a wall behind it, and echo the silo design,” Morgan says. The back and front were built concurrently. “From about 16 feet up I built against the wooden structure. Up to there, it’s concrete wall behind it. So the whole thing floats.” The title of this piece occurred to Morgan while he was altering the bricks in the studio. “I was hitting the bricks and causing instant, random fossils of movement,” he says. “Later I erased parts to make each brick a coherent sculpture. I thought as I did this, memory has a similar function, life happens all the time, later we select parts of it, erasing others to make coherent sense of our lives.”

The concrete block tower has 4-inch-thick wooden treads built into the structure in a spiral staircase from bottom to top. At 12 feet, an open doorway connects the silo to the renovated barn. At the top is an observatory. The circular base is a demolished corncrib welded to a metal ring and secured to four piers. The 36-foot-tall silo, with a 14-foot diameter, has a 2-foot-wide footing, "so the building appears to be flaring from the ground." The "crevice," running bottom to top, says Morgan, is "structurally sound." Morgan clad the concrete structure with 5,500 manipulated bricks combined with 6,000 unaltered bricks. Some are numbered and correspond to certain areas. For example, those framing the door and encircling the round window are designed with a specific pattern. The bricks forming the arch over the door were stomped down to a wedge. He carved others on their faces and/or their heads. The "brick sculpture is laid up in an irregular fashion so all the bricks hump and dip all the way around," he says. The bricks are 2 inches from the concrete block at the sculpture’s narrowest point and project out 18 inches at the widest. All the bricks are attached with ties that hook into reinforcement in the concrete block.

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