M.L. SNOWDEN SCULPTURE
The scope of ML Snowden’s sculptural accomplishment is both complex and gargantuan across more than two thousand bronzes. The sheer range of Snowden’s sculptural outlays collected across the globe establish a benchmark for bronze achievement.
In understanding Snowden’s protean artistic ability, it is interesting to view those handful of works that were sculpted during the artist’s early days. Among works from Snowden’s nascent scene, we can turn to Wave. This is a work that shapes a singular facet of a small cluster of sculpture that takes the viewer into a far distant artistic past that shows the beginning roots of Snowden’s sculpture craft.
What we are confronted with is a singular truth about Snowden’s signature handcraft: from the beginning Snowden was marked as a fully formed master. For the sculptor there was no learning period that produced lesser art. One might think there might be signs of developing advancement surely, but Snowden’s unique ability to etch living spirit from the depths of glyptic art was a gift that made itself known from earliest days.
Wave floats almost as a sonic dream where clay turns into a vision of water. Sculpted at just 15 years of age, Wave houses the complete lexicon of Snowden’s touch that is evident now across the full library of her oeuvre, The Geological Coreium. We can chart the sculptor’s electric living touch in Wave’s classic sfumato profile; in the anatomically beautiful sense of turning soft torsion; in the masterful jointure of the neck to the head; and in the feel of true muscular reach without strain. The exposure and sublimation of figural structure within abstract waves of raw clay has a surety of proportion that basks in optical candor and physical rightness.
There is no discordancy that mars the overall impression of the work that seems to float in full assurance of its grace. What we see is a natural will for spiritual ecstasy and mental movement that easily powers action. Herein we experience presence rather than static pose. The earliest markings of Snowden’s hallmark sculptural attributes swim here on full display.
Curiously, Wave is a Parian Blanc de Chine terra cotta clay work that was fired in the 1960’s. Wave was never molded with silicon or other casting materials. It exists as a one-of-a-kind block of heavy fired clay weighing about 50 pounds. As such, it preserves the direct fingerprints of the young sculptor. It is as if raw clay – clay that traditionally becomes plugged, deformed, gouged, pitted, pinched, excised, and smoothed under normal sculpting processes - suddenly listened to music when Snowden stroked her quite different and strange touch upon Wave.
Wave was created by Snowden alone as a secret talisman in the direction of her bid to devote her life entirely to her artform. Wave is one of a handful of works the sculptor has always kept by her side as a reminder of an early dream that presented itself; alive in the depths of clay and bronze. In that remarkable sphere of remembrance, it is not what Snowden and her extraordinary legacy brought to sculpture but what the substantive sculptural material of Wave was able to communicate to Snowden of its own earthly and universal magnificence.