Julia I; Julia II (portrait of artist's sister) by Meredith Free, May 2017
People have always captivated me. When I was 10 I was busy coloring humanoid drawings of my stuffed animals. Under my high school art teacher, I learned to divide faces up into cubist shapes, seeing the face not so much as just a pair of eyes, nose, and mouth, but as a patchwork quilt of shapes fitting into each other. My experiments with the figure to this point have almost always been reduced to a two-dimensional plane in drawing or painting, although for years I have felt this yearning to work three-dimensionally in the round.
When I began Stone Carving this semester with professor Zingarelli I hoped I would have the chance to experiment with the figure in sculpture, but I never anticipated how much I would love it. While completing Julia I I spent many late nights in Barrington, feeling more fulfilled in my art than I have in years (despite the sleep deprivation). Each time I worked on the stone was utter joy - discovering the curve of an eyelid, the dimple of the corner of the cheek, the structure of a forehead.
The first piece, Julia I, was made without serious study into anatomy or master sculptures - I was striking out into the unknown, and I enjoyed the raw discovery of it all. With the experience I had gained working on Julia I, I approached the second piece, Julia II, more traditionally. I studied the proportions of my sister's face using reference photos, learned the anatomy of the human skull, frequently drawing the shape of the bones on the stone I worked, and investigated the works of other sculptors for techniques, form, and rhythm of shadow and light.
This experience in figural sculpture has both been the culmination of many years of study and longing, and also the initiation of a new chapter in my artistic process. I sincerely hope you enjoy experiencing these pieces as much as I did creating them.
Soli Deo Gloria.