A meeting with sculptor Maria Wickwire to discuss the inspiration for her unique and powerful works.
At first glance, many of Maria Wickwire’s sculptures resemble classical designs from antiquity. Look closer, there are unusual little details that may change your impression. Now ask her what the works are titled, Ariel, Persephone, Ganas, Room with a View, Wee Small Hours. A thread of epic poem and lyricism seems to run through her works. On a visit to her studio, I had a chance to talk with her about inspirations and process. Maria began writing poetry as a child and continued writing through her career as an elementary school teacher. During an inservice workshop on pottery, she experienced a life-changing moment.
“As soon as my hands touched the clay, I knew that I found my passion, or rather, it had found me.”
She promptly enrolled in a proportion of body class at a Portland community college. After taking the course twice, the instructor introduced her to some local sculptors.
The living room of Maria’s house is decorated with a variety of her works. Over by the picture window, lies Persephone, which she considers to be her seminal work. Maria explained that while she was creating her, the floral details just seem to naturally take shape. Although she has had many offers for the sculpture, there is some emotion attachment that prevents her from selling it.
On the walls are a series of green patinaed works called “Private Scenes and Brilliant Dreams.” Their small, faceless figures are a bit of a contrast to her larger detailed works. The unique patina has a light coat of rust that comes from brushing on red iron oxide. Maria explained that they represent private places deep within where people go when they are faced with difficult life situations, such as tending to a dying loved one.While we walked out to her studio, she mentioned that her inspirations were Michelangelo, Rodin, and a lesser known sculptor, who was involved with Rodin by the name of Camile Claudel. I asked her about what draws her to mythology.
“It’s really more like archetypes. When I work, I drop into a kind of dream state. I like to think of it as similar to the Jungian concept of a collective unconsciousness.”
Maria described her schedule as basically fitting time in between her duties as the chairperson of the Skagit Artists Together group, taking care of her new puppy, spending time with her partner, and then getting down to work in the afternoons. Look for Maria on the 2017 NW Artbeat Studio Tour, July 14 and 15.
Entertainment Writer Mark Perschbacher…A man who will cross great barriers to find exceptional music. Mark is a long time Skagit County resident, contributor to, and supporter of local arts.