Robert Brady is an American modernist sculptor who works in ceramics and wood. Born in Reno, Nevada, he has made his home in the San Francisco Bay Area for many decades. Brady is a multi-faceted artist who works in ceramics, wood, painting, and illustration, and is best known for his abstract figurative sculptures. Brady came out of the California Clay movement, and the Bay Area Arts scene of the 1950s and 1960s, which includes artists such as Peter Voulkos, Viola Frey, Stephen de Staebler, and Robert Arneson who was his mentor and teacher in college.
Brady initiated his career in the ceramic arts, by investigating and experimenting with form and color, including Raku glazes, polychromy, oil pastels and mixed-media. In his smaller earthenware vessels, he tested the effects of pigmented clays and monotype printing methods on the clay. In making his large scale, and semi-abstract, figurative work, Brady initially used clay and bronze. However, starting in the late 1980s, he began a transition into using wood. He found the material more suited to creating the large scale, thin and elongated, yet often top-heavy sculptures he was making. These, and many other pieces of his, show an affinity for a very primal and ancient type of folk art which Brady has been exploring for decades. Including the ceramic, wood, and bronze sculptures, Brady has additionally used a variety of materials and methods to create masks, prints, paintings, and drawings to communicate through his art.