Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mary K. Morse

Artist Statement

I drew and painted before I sculpted. In college I started drawing the figure -- always with a model in front of me. It became my principal subject right through graduate school. When I started fooling making sculpture it seemed natural to make human figures the subject of the work….exaggerating the movements of the figures in space. I found that about the "contours" that I lay down on paper with a pencil or chalk were the same ones that I needed to find as I shaped clay or wax into a figure's form. The difficulty and challenge lay in the integration of the multiple contours that are presented as you go around the form. I was delighted to discover the familiarity I found and seduced by the challenge.

When I started "dressing" the figures I identified them both with New Orleans' Mardi Gras Indians and with the non-western cultures of Africa, Oceania, North and South America that I had studies in art history courses. This "ethnographic" character of my pieces, I think, comes from an effort to give the figures humanity and an identity.

Although I have continued making pieces in this same vein recently I've been drawn to figurative situations with more contemporary content. I have been intrigued by the groups of day laborers and other street people that I see here in Austin. This has resulted in some new pieces with this urban content. A second group of "beach ladies" has also emerged and certainly comes from my memories of many annual gatherings of friends at Dauphin Island, Alabama. Not matter what the subject of the work is it is always about moments of humanness.


17" x 17" x 15.5"

"Five Elements"
15" H x 6" W x 7" D

"Feeder of the King's Birds"
24" H x 10" W x 16" D

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