M.L. SNOWDEN SCULPTURE
Premia is among first works of the sculptor to be modelled in clay and then carved into white Italian Carrara Marble.
In this early work created at age 18, Snowden’s young and sensitive relationship with light and form is clearly evident. Shadows and highlights subsume into a creamy glow within this minimal bas-relief; a wall piece designed around a soft explosion of baroque waves. Here we can witness one of the central sculptural ideas of Snowden that shapes her work today: sculpture celebrates the conduction of transformational energies of touch and light - not just optically but tactilely and entirely throughout the crystalline mediums of sculpture. Despite its filmy features almost draped in marble silk, Premia conveys an almost magnetic attraction that sharply communicates a sense of vibrant life.
From inner to outer layers of her clay and bronze and marble, sculpture is alive for Snowden. Here in Premia hard marble becomes a poem of light under various candescent sources. Premia filters radiance as it innately responds to internal and external sources of energies. This is carved marble that almost generates a halo.
Viewing this marble basso-relievo, iPremia’s lithe central figure give the impression of long years immersed in human anatomy. This is certainly the case, where from her earliest time in her father’s sculpture studios, Snowden learned figurative sculptural craft as an inheritance from the Paris studios of Rodin. Indeed, In the spirit of Rodin across those early years, Snowden filled thick notebooks with anatomical drawings and figure notation studies in the manner of a Renaissance master. As Rodin had created a large collection of figurative line action drawings that were first curated for the Rodin Museum by Snowden’s friend, Malvina Hoffman, Snowden undertook countless drawings from living models.
The long memorization and internalization of anatomical figuration under every pose and gravitational position received a jolt as Snowden discovered the figure was naturally and innately crystalizing within her clay in Premia that was then carried out in marble. Such a realization marginally enjoined her perspective to Michelangelo’s meditation where he believed his figures pre-existed within blocks of marble awaiting release.
Yet Snowden’s revelation was something subtly different. In Snowden’s meditation, clay, bronze and marble are creative living mediums that actively form new figures in the presence of the sculptor. Under pull-apart breakage or through manual touch, figuration naturally forms not as a pre-existing hard form but as the birth of a morphing spirit, rising cloud-like into light. In Snowden’s estimate, sculpture is a dialogue wherein half the conversation is conducted by the artist who remains sensitive to hearing the answer - as well as the next question posited by the material. The role of a sculptor in Snowden’s estimate is to not overwork or do too much to alter the vibrancy of forms that naturally are born only to disappear forever if they are not respected.
From this perspective, Premia engages an energetic dialogue that rises reciprocally from its material to the sculptor and back again. It is a conversation catalyzing change and transformation. As in other Snowden works, Premia is a living energetic synthesis. In the oeuvre of the Geological Coreium, Premia remains a foundational work where it remains a milestone. Indeed, Premia is that particular work that established a first threshold for gaining a view onto the ultimate energetic and transformational vistas of sculpture - whether carried out in clay, marble or bronze.