My sculpture is informed by my architectural education.
Architecture starts with an idea, a parti. It can be a postage stamp size but it is the kernel from which the building concept grows. Architecture and sculpture both literally and figuratively frame this idea. It is through this framework that the idea is allowed to reveal itself. I am reminded of Harriet Whitney Frishmuth, Joy of the Waters; a vertical column that explores the idea of controlled energy within this framework.
Like architecture, sculpture has a field of energy that expands from its core, and like architecture, it is experienced in 4 dimensions; time being the 4th. Architects and sculptors both have the ability to manipulate time. An architect can strategically place a stair, window, or volume to slow down the participant's experience a sculptor can encourage the viewer to walk around a piece through gesture, rhythm, scale, and color. Perhaps this is best exemplified in my hometown by Rudolph Evans’ Jefferson Memorial or Daniel Chester French’s, Abraham Lincoln.
I grew up in a house full of antiques, sculptures, paintings, and rugs in the Washington Metropolitan Area. My parents collected Andre Harvey’s sculptures and it was because of this that it occurred to me that sculpture was a contemporary art form and not simply a historic reference. I traveled daily over Memorial Bridge which was framed by Leo Friedlander’s Arts of War (Valor and Sacrifice) as well as James Earle Fraser’s, Music and Harvest.
I pursued architecture, however, as a more practical way to make a living and after 20 years of doing historic renovations and adaptive reuse architecture, I was sketching a sculpture I wanted someone to create for me when my husband Ned asked, “Why don’t you do it yourself?”
I enrolled in the Corcoran School of Art and subsequently in the Loveland Academy of Art and the Scottsdale Artists’ School.
Having the opportunity to study both painting and sculpture with artists such as Greg Beecham, Matt Smith, Richard Greeves, Michael Coleman, Eugene Daub, and David Turner was such an incredible opportunity. Through these artists’ generosity in mentoring through teaching, as well I was allowed to study with living masters.
My career changed dramatically when I became a member of American Women Artists. It was through this organization that I found my own voice, in part because my audience expanded beyond the genre of wildlife art which had given me my start. AWA’s commitment to their core mission of inspiring, encouraging, and celebrating women in the visual fine arts was there when I was ready.
When you go into a museum in the United States, chances are that you are looking at the work of men. Sadly, the work of female artists comprises only 3-5% of these museums’ permanent collections. AWA is trying to change these statistics by having their annual exhibitions at accredited museums which are looking to expand their collections to include more women.
“If you possess even one beautiful object it teaches you more, by its proximity, than a hundred visits to museums.”
-Beverly Nichols, writer