Brian Gillis examines sociocultural issues as consequent evidence of particular historic moments. His work uses a variety of production strategies and conceptual approaches. These often draw from specific sites and related institutions, and range from the production of objects and editions of multiples to site-specific installations and actions.

Gillis is the recipient of distinctions including fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, Oregon Arts Commission, and MacDowell Colony, and residencies at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, International Ceramic Research Center (Denmark), and Arizona State University's School of Arts, Media, and Engineering. Gillis has exhibited at national and international institutions including CUE Art Foundation, the Mint Museum, Mildred's Lane, and the Milwaukee Art Museum, as well as the Cluj Museum of Art (Romania) and Heilongjiang University (China).

Gillis received a Master of Fine Arts from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, and is currently Associate Professor of Art and Area Head of Ceramics at the University of Oregon.