When you run a website like 30 Miles East, you are constantly scouring the internet for the most intriguing and talented masters of craft. When I stumbled upon Beverly Morrison’s work on Instagram, it was a no-brainer. I had to feature her brilliant work. Beverly is based out of Los Angeles and her bio gives us an in-depth look at her love for the art of sculpting.
Beverly fell in love with the process of creating at a very young age. In fact, to her, it feels as though she’s never been without it.
She grew up with an artistic mother and a supportive, analytical father. Strong emotion met problem solving. Between them, there was no object in their house that was not created or rehabilitated by a member of the family. Everything could be de- and re-constructed. The world was made of puzzle pieces, interchangeable at one’s whim. All one had to do was observe.
And what they observed primarily…was nature.
Nature was a near religion for her family, and Beverly’s mother was the priestess. Whether they were gardening, camping, relaxing at the beach, her mom made sure they stopped to appreciate their surroundings. Mother Nature contained endless wisdom, to be held in reverence. Powerful laws and unstoppable forces; the cycle of birth, flourishing and death; the expression of a life and its singular message…all the answers could be found there.
Beverly listened, and remembered.
After achieving her A.A and B.A in Studio Arts, she left for a year abroad in Florence, Italy to study at the Accademia di Belli Arti, founded by Michelangelo. She found a wealth of inspiration in the works of masters like Henry Moore, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Auguste Rodin. She worked with many different media, trying things on, looking for a fit. She found certain places of creative bedrock: she loved working with her hands, being physical with her art, pouring her body into bringing forth another body that would express for her what words could not. She also discovered that process was key, was the most important part of helping a piece of art find its true expression. She found herself concentrating more and more in sculpture and ceramics and working exclusively in clay since it is, to her, the “flesh of the earth.”
The rest came together with her study of the human figure: the curves and power of the female form spoke to her, and for her. Over the confidence and serene beauty of the female form, she layers chaotic textures pulled from nature. She revels in the tension, wants to bring the conflict to the light. It is not enough for her to express her own state – her goal is to draw the viewer into the push/pull dialogue between figure and surface, arousing them on an emotional level. Hers is not an art of cool, sterile ideas—it is a constantly moving tableau of emotion.
‘Intentions’ are very important to me and I begin every sculpture with a very a concrete motive. I empty myself, infusing my ‘will’ into each piece, and the clay absorbs it. Working with the female form, particularly, has proven to be a natural vehicle for expressing and displaying this type of ‘saturation’.
The figure is a subject matter that embodies so many enticing and seductive qualities and being able to combine such differing characteristics is intoxicating: supple in body, graceful in line, elegant in form; and yet exuding a presence of strength and emotional intensity all at once. It’s this fusion of characteristics that radiates an unending supply of motivation for me as an artist.
As with the female form, I am constantly in awe of the natural world. I use different techniques of texturing and coloring, inspired by nature, to assist with my exploration of certain ‘conflicted states’ in my work. Figures may exude a sense of balance and harmony, naive innocence or a sort of sensual tranquility; while, superficially, textural surfaces influence them with their own type of emotional content. Ultimately, my hope is that the viewer will be drawn into this developing push/pull dialogue between figure and surface; arousing them on an emotional level and drawing them into the work on a physical one as well.
For more on Beverly’s outstanding work, please visit her website: http://www.beverlymorrison.com/
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