Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary Meyer.
Mary, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
As a child, one of the many dreams I had was to be an archeologist. I was born with a keen sense of curiosity, so digging around in the dirt, revealing wonders to share with the world… that seemed like a pretty good thing to me. I now work in sculpture. Perhaps I didn’t land too far off the mark.
I’m originally from the Chicago area but spent most of my youth on a farm in South Dakota—big skies, big trees, and open spaces to explore. I studied Art and Music at Augustana College (truth be told I didn’t study much). It was there that I took my first sculpture class and discovered a love for carving stone. I was trained to work intuitively with the material, letting the form evolve without preconceived ideas. This meditative process spoke to my sensitive nature and had a profound impact on my development as an artist.
My roots are in the Midwest, but the desert is where I’ve grown the most. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 1995, and after a ten-year hiatus from academia, I resumed my sculpture studies. As an undergraduate at ASU, I blissfully navigated new processes and materials—especially cast metal. I also studied Botany and was enrolled in Life Drawing almost every semester. After receiving my BFA, I enrolled in the Master’s program at the University of Arizona with a tuition waiver, teaching assistantship, and my very first studio space. I received an MFA Fellowship which provided the means to create Presence, my thesis installation and the impetus behind my work today.
After graduate school I took some time off from art and returned to work as a makeup artist; my bread and butter job for the last 20 years. Eventually, my path led me back to art via teaching opportunities. Being surrounded once again by creatives in a learning environment was just what I needed. In 2011, I became a member of the Eye Lounge Artist Collective and “took the plunge” into full-time studio practice.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My work is an exploration of form, driven by intuition, materiality, and process. I love repetitive methods and always work in series—typically with several projects going at once. I use a variety of media—wood, metal, plaster, paper, wax—and have a current obsession with clay. I often incorporate reflective components such as metal castings and pigments, found objects, and graphite surface treatments. These materials are always present—reflecting the here and now—the state of mindfulness in which I strive to exist.
I’m interested in how our bodies are mirrored within the landscape and physical constructs of our universe. I have an affinity for vintage illustration and enjoy exploring the desert trails near my home. I look at a seed or the shape of a leaf, and I see the human figure. There is a common thread throughout the shapes, patterns, and symmetries of all living systems. This is my inspiration.
Current work explores the notion of biophilia—our innate human need for physical connection with nature and all life that it holds. This idea resonates with me on a very deep level. I view the forms that I sculpt as extensions of my body—living things that retain the meditative energy used to create them. For me, they symbolize physical connection; something that, I fear, is becoming rare in this world.
Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
When I was little, I’m not sure if I ever dreamt of being an artist. Maybe I did, but deep down I think it was something I innately knew. Being an artist is not something they teach you in art school. Working and sustaining a life as an artist… well, that’s a whole new topic. Artists are great entrepreneurs… they have to be to survive. When who you are and what you do are one in the same, it takes a tremendous amount of vulnerability—not to mention courage— which is extremely challenging, but also quite powerful.
Of all the tools I use in my work, and life, I see intuition as the most powerful. It emerges when I slow down, take a deep breath, and listen. Sometimes it’s difficult to plug into, but it is always there, like an internal compass pointing the way. I believe that lessons appear at the time we are ready to see them; signs carried by messengers and mentors that cross our paths and provide guidance just when we need it. Throughout my journey as an artist, I’ve been fortunate to have had the guidance and support of many wonderful people—instructors, fellow artists, collectors, friends, and family. Challenges provide opportunities to be open, stay teachable, and surround ourselves by those who lift us up.
Now more than ever we need artists. They not only create wonder but reveal the wonder that surrounds us by sharing themselves with the world. To me, that is one of the most important things to do.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I actively exhibit locally, regionally and nationally. I’m presently working on a large-scale installation for my upcoming solo exhibition at Mesa Contemporary Art Museum—Fall 2019. This November I’ll take part in Ceramic + : an invitational exhibition featuring contemporary works in ceramics by local artists—on view at Mesa Community College Art Gallery through January 2019. I also show and sell from my studio in Gold Canyon, as well as through my website: www.marymeyerstudio.com
- Address: Mary Meyer Studio
Gold Canyon, AZ
- Website: www.marymeyerstudio.com
- Phone: 480.244.9418
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marymeyerstudio/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marymeyerstudio/