This month's guest artist is award-winning figurative sculptor, Mardie Rees. An artist steeped in tradition, she uses handcrafted wooden tools to shape clay into living beings cast in bronze. Her work calls attention to the human form and core emotions. A mix of classical practice and contemporary craft makes her art come alive. Mardie lives in Gig Harbor, Washington, with her husband and two children.
Mardie grew up in a family of fine craftspeople, builders and artists. When she was a teenager, her family moved to Ecuador for three years. It was a catalyst for her artistic development. While there, she explored her growing relationship with art in a variety of ways. She produced oil and acrylic paintings, experimented with sculpture, and joined a team that painted twenty murals throughout the country.
Returning to the U.S., she honed her skills while attending Laguna College of Art and Design. The depth of expression possible in representative, figurative sculpture, took hold of Mardie. She graduated with honors as a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2003.
Since that time, Mardie has created life-size bronze sculptures for grand memorials and public spaces, as well as intimate pieces for private families. She sculpts by hand, crafts from live models, and casts in bronze using the time-honored lost-wax method. She’s won accolades for her commissioned work and for her personal projects, which explore fundamentally human themes such as womanhood, faith, youth, struggle and hope.
In 2013, Mardie received an award for Exceptional Merit from the Portrait Society of America International Competition & Exhibition. From the same organization she received a First Honor award in 2010. She was a finalist in sculpture from the Art Renewal Center’s International Salon Competition in 2014, 2013 and 2010. Mardie was a Gold Medal of Honor winner in 2010 from the Allied Artists of America. A full list of her awards to date can be found here .