One part of my career: When I graduated from the Museum School, I
had married Donald Schön and was pregnant with our first child.
My senior sculpture was the lead piece in the graduation show at
the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The sculpture was of a pregnant
mother carrying a child on her shoulder.
That set the stage for my early life as a sculptor
which was intertwined with my life as a wife and mother. I have
four children and I found group-interaction intriguing and provocative.
It is natural for an artist to echo his/her surroundings and my
inspiration came from my immediate family.
As time went on, however, my children grew up and
my sculptures represented more mature people and different themes.
For some time these themes centered around groups of people- how
they interacted and related. I have spoken of this interplay of
feelings as frozen emotions which tell a story and evoke
a response from the viewer through the gestures of the figures.
Another image that I pursued in my work was the
metaphor of climbing. The symbolism of how we interpret and go through
our lives is evident in climbing, which often implies struggle and
effort. We do not climb in a straight line, but reach plateaus,
rest, then continue on.
Our lives are sometimes joyous, sometimes sad, but
always in motion, hopefully upward. My work also freezes that emotion.
One other image that struck me as a constant was the fact that we
spend great amounts of time waiting. We wait for the phone to ring,
we wait for a friend to meet us, we wait in line to go to the
movies, we wait in the doctors office; we wait for the next
act to begin, the next musical movement; the list is endless. My
work also froze that emotion.
This was my direction all the years that I showed
in galleries, but In 1980 Brandeis University commissioned me to
design a Benefactor pin to raise money for their library. This unusually
successful venture became a turning point in my career. I discovered
that I could design small bronze sculptures, awards, donor walls,
and jewelry to raise money for institutions. I could help others,
do what I love to do, and earn a fee at the same time.
Another part of my career:
Some years later, when I first started doing Public Art, I noticed
that people from ages 2 to 92 looked at sculptures in parks rather
casually, and then went on their way. Then, one day, I saw a sculpture
of a child with a cat. The child was not noticed, but the cat was
patted, hugged, and smiled at.
This gave me a profound insight. I decided from
that event that I wanted my sculpture to be interactive and touched.
Beyond the emotional, tactile interaction, I also try to select
subjects for my sculpture that teach a lesson and have a connection
to the sculpture site. Some examples: Make Way for Ducklings
is about promises kept and family values. It is in the Boston Public
Garden where the story takes place.
Eeyore is from childrens literature
and is installed at a library, and speaks to making something out
of nothing ( the empty honey pot and the broken balloon). The Tortoise
and Hare is a metaphor for the Boston Marathon and is at the
finish line in Copley Square. There is an important lesson to be
learned from the persistence of the tortoise in this fable.
And so it is with all my Public Art projects. I
have tried to teach some sort of a lesson, yet give people the joy
and delight of interacting with what people normally are told not
to touch. The child in all of us responds to animals and the use
of this metaphor reaches our inner most depths whatever our age.
I use bronze as a material to cast my sculptures
as it is durable, practically vandal proof and blends with other
materials that surrounding buildings might be made of. It has a
wonderfully tactile quality and happily sparkles in the sunlight.