Sculptor Stephen Braun seeks to create a piercing visual language, one that motivates us, if not to act, then to think differently. Out of the human figure and an ever-evolving inventory of icons, Braun constructs allegories that reflect fiercely held concerns. Braun works in what he calls the “bastardized American raku technique” developed by Paul Soldner in the 1960s. Traditional Japanese raku has been used since the 16th century to produce wares for the tea ceremony. Like other socially conscious artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, Braun employs distortion, disjunction and defamiliarization to challenge the constructs our culture offers us. Braun, who now teaches at Flathead Community College, ceramic work that uses humor and an appealing aesthetic to illustrate society’s rising environmental problems.