Claire McArdle sculpture and drawings
Cover Mythos 24” x 5” x 5” terra cotta, terra sigillata 2012 Right Bison skeletal drawing 20”x 15” Japanese ink 2012
Sculpture and Drawings
Initiate 1 19” x 5” x5” terra cotta raw pigments 2012 The archetype of the Initiate is triggered by loss, death, and tragedy. The psyche initiates a call to change, to reevaluate who we are and what our place is in the universe. The Initiate must embrace a new awareness at a time of pain, becoming a spiritual warrior through this cycle of growth.
The spirit awakens creativity through visions and dreams. Archetypes provide the common thread between prehistoric and contemporary mind and form the essence of the World Soul ~ Anima Mundi.
PR I MA MADR E
B I SON
I N I T I AT E
WAR R IOR
H EALE R
I NTR O D U CTI O N DAVI D S. WH ITLEY Harmonia 17” x 7” x 7” bronze 2013 Cowhorn, horsehead, human hand. A composite of three mammals portrays the natural harmony between humans and the animals who feed us, clothe us, and help us work.
SPIRIT WORLDS “The artist alone sees spirits,” 18th century German writer Goethe told us, adding that, once exposed by the artist, “everybody sees them.” Art reveals the spirits, I take this to mean, and it is clear that our western consciousness has maintained
Senza Tempo 17” x 20” x 6” travertine classico 2012
this conviction for ages. Nowhere is this better seen than in the dark-zone, Ice Age caves of France and Spain. As early as 36,000 years ago, these caverns were painted by shamans—ritual specialists who were thought to visit the supernatural during their visionary trances. Keying on the soft undulating walls of these limestone grottoes, they painted magnificent images of the spirits of their world, drawing the beings that could only be half-seen in the natural contours of the rock walls. Archaeological evidence suggests that this represents not just the invention of art (something that our Neanderthal forebears lacked), but also the first appearance of artistic genius, for many of these paintings are widely renowned as true aesthetic masterpieces. Equally importantly, this represents our earliest evidence for religion: an organized system of beliefs and rituals involving supernatural spirits. Like much of Claire McArdle’s exhibit, the emphasis in this earliest shamanic art was on animals and, appropriately, horses and bison. But these were not just horses and bison (as beautiful as these animals may be). These were horse and bison spirits which, as we know from studies of historic shamanistic religions, were the supernatural alter egos of the shamans themselves: what the shamans became, when they entered the supernatural realm. Like a modern sculptor working with a block of marble, the Ice Age shamans found these spirits in the cave walls and brought them to life—or, at least, visibility—with their art.
Spirit of Ireland 24” x 10” x 11” travertine classico 2008
Horses on My Mind 34” x 23” x 12” travertine classico 2010
A mythological lion grips a 1st century icon. Anima Mundi reveals the spiritual through the animal.
Senza Tempo 17” x 20” x 6” travertine classico 2012
Equipean 4 and 5 24” x 6” x 6” terra cotta, terra sigillata 2013 Mythological creatures with human features and the instinct of a wild horse.
Horsetower II 43” x 16” x 8” travertine classico 2010
Into the Light 24” x 6” x 6” bronze 2013
McArdle’s masterful sculptures, castings and paintings evocatively signal our connection to this oldest human tradition—indeed, an artistic-religious tradition that marks us as human beings, as we know ourselves today, and separates us from our earlier hominid ancestors. Art and belief define us, this suggests, but, as both the earliest art and the pieces in this exhibit demonstrate, they also link us inextricably to the natural world and the animals that populate it. Whatever the supernatural may be, it is not solely the domain of humans. Or perhaps better, there is no way for us to deny our part-animal nature and origins. As an archaeologist, I have pondered the obvious question: why did the first humans emphasize the horse and the bison in their art? Some archaeologists suggest that the two species represent a symbolic pair, akin to common oppositions like good versus evil, or dark versus light. One possibility, with at least some archaeological support, is that they may have symbolized the universal opposition of male versus female. But the truth is that we may never know what such an opposition meant, 36,000 years ago.
Cavallino 1 8” x 8” mixed media 2013
McArdle’s emphasis on these same animals likely stems from more complex motivations, partly the inspiration of prehistoric art, perhaps, as well as an intimacy with the horse and the bison resulting from her life in Colorado, where she has raised both. Regardless of cause, this emphasis touches another, long-lived and more singular human concern, which is the majesty, and the importance, of the horse itself. Often expressed in poetry, song and art, the continuing special place of the horse to humans is best stated, I believe, in The Quran: When God created the horse, he said to the magnificent creature: I have made thee as no other. All the treasures of the earth lie between thy eyes. Thou shalt carry my friends upon thy back. Thy saddle shall be the seat of prayers to me. And thou shalt fly without wings, and conquer without sword; oh horse. Horse Monoprints 20” x 30” mixed media 2013
Mexican Nobel laureate Carlos Fuentes repeatedly reminded us that ‘we are where we come from.’ And if we are to know ourselves, and understand our place in life, we must be ever mindful of this fact. Claire McArdle’s exhibit gives us that opportunity, encouraging us to seek the connections between our contemporary lives and our deepest prehistoric past, and to find the continuing links between the natural and cultural realms, and the spirits that animate our worlds, and ourselves. David S. Whitley Archaeologist and author of Cave Paintings and the Human Spirit: The Origin of Creativity and Belief
Venus 84” x 19” x 19” calacatta marble on NM travertine 2012
Saturnus 53” x 35” x 30” calacatta marble on NM travertine 2010 The planet of creativity. She is grounded to the earth and reaches towards the cosmos.
Isabelle 31” x 8” x 8” bronze 2013
Torso del Scavi 36” x 8” x 8” travertine noci 2012
The female torso represents the Prima Madre, the archetype of the Earth Mother, sacred and forgotten.
La Masquera 12” x 6” x 6” terra cotta, terra sigillata 2012
This series was inspired by my love of the sculptural quality of bones and my awe of these prehistoric animals. The bones of these majestic creatures remind us of our prehistoric roots and connection to Nature.
Bison vertebrae disc bronze 2013
Bison Thoracic Vertebrae 21” x 5” x 4” bronze 2013 The long spinous processes of the vertebrae form a distinctive hump. They allow the animals to hold up their gigantic heads and forage for food in the snow.
Bison Scapula 38” x 11” x 4” bronze 2013
Top clockwise: Summer L’Estate Winter L’Inverno Autumn L’Autuno Spring La Primavera 20” x 30” mixed media 2006
Horses on My Mind 20” x 30” mixed media 2006
Torso 13-1 24” x 7” x 7” terra cotta, terra sigillata 2013
A R T I S T S TAT E M E N T For thousands of years, following human kind’s self-realization, many forms of art have been created to give meaning to our existence. Artists created paintings, sculptures and dances to express the beliefs and myths of creation, man’s place in the universe, and his relationship to nature. My interest in art and mythology began as a child. I was drawn to the art and artifacts from the prehistoric and ancient world. I recognized at an early age that cross-cultural similarities abound in the archetypes of mythology, binding us together as one species with common ancestors. The symbolism created by artists therefore connects us through the Arts. My work is an extension of my constant revisiting of these myths and mysteries as I try to bridge the relationship between the ancient world and our modern existence. I aim to create timeless work that resonates with spirit. In this process, I develop expressions of my personal mythology, bound to my ancestors through the archetype, altered by the world in which I live, made unique by my hand. -Claire McArdle
M A R Y L A N D H A L L F O R T H E C R E AT I V E A R T S Anima Mundi: April 12 - June 9, 2013 The evolution of Anima Mundi started with a casual conversation in 2011 and has become a full-fledged and comprehensive exhibit of Claire’s most recent work. We hope that the breath of this exhibit will be a contribution to our community and region, bringing an exciting, professional artist into our midst for a brief period. Claire’s openness and ability to reach her innermost thoughts are evident in these exquisite works of art. -Sigrid Trumpy, Curator of Anima Mundi: MHCA Director of Exhibits Founded in 1979, the mission of Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts (MHCA) is to provide exceptional opportunities for lifelong community participation in arts education, the visual and performing arts. Today, our historic landmark building is the community’s gathering place for the arts. Through Maryland Hall’s year-round arts classes, performances, concerts, exhibits, tours, workshops and demonstrations, people of all ages discover the transformative power of the arts. MHCA’s exhibitions program is a vital component of our mission. Artists of all skill levels—from student and emerging to professional—exhibit their work in Maryland Hall’s galleries, bringing diverse artwork and art forms to our community’s residents. Thanks to Anima Mundi Sponsors: Tom and Kitty Stoner, Lynne and Joe Horning, McArdle Insurance Agency, Inc., Mary Robbins and Stephanie and Kenneth Shipp Maryland Hall is grateful to the patrons of our annual art auction, All That Art, which provided seed money and continuing support for this exhibition. We are grateful to Richard Caruso for his ongoing support of the exhibit program. www.marylandhall.org / 801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21041 / 410-263-5544
2013 Coors Western Art Exhibit, Denver, CO Ancient Ways, Gardner Colby Gallery, Naples, FL In House, Chaney Gallery, Maryland Hall, Annapolis, MD Gallery Artists, Worrell Gallery, Santa Fe, NM International Visions-The Gallery, Washington, DC Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD Martin Gallery, Charleston, SC, Shaw Cramer Gallery, Vineyard Haven, MA
Anima Mundi, 2013 Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis, MD
2012 AIR Cheney Gallery, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis, MD Coors Western Art Exhibit, Denver, CO Gallery Artists, Gardner Colby Gallery, Naples, FL International Visions-The Gallery, Washington, DC Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD Martin Gallery, Charleston, SC Shaw Cramer Gallery, Vineyard Haven, MA 2011 Spring Exhibition, Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD AIR Cheney Gallery, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis, MD Gallery Artists- International Visions-The Gallery, Washington, DC Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD, Martin Gallery, Charleston, SC Thomas Deans Fine Art, Atlanta, GA, Darnell Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM 2010 Fall into Summer, Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD Into the Light, Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD Gallery Artists- International Visions-The Gallery, Washington, DC Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD, Martin Gallery, Charleston, SC Thomas Deans Fine Art, Atlanta, GA 2009 Gallery Artists, Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, Telluride, CO International Visions-The Gallery, Washington, DC Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD Martin Gallery, Charleston, SC, Darnell Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM 2008 24/7 The Creative Challenge, Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD Gallery Artists, Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, Telluride, CO International Visions-The Gallery, Washington, DC Martin Gallery, Charleston, SC, Darnell Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM Sculpture on the Blue, Breckenridge, CO 2007 Ten, International Visions Gallery, Washington, DC Dwell, Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD Lifelines: Vessels, Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD Sculpture on the Blue, Breckenridge, CO 2006 Sculpture on the Blue, Breckenridge, CO Best in Show Award Sequences and Consequences, Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD Hermandades Escultoricas, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Atenea de Yucatan, Merida, Mexico Gallery Artists, Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, Telluride, CO International Visions-The Gallery, Washington, DC Martin Gallery, Charleston, NC Harbor Square Gallery, Rockland, ME 2005 Particles and Passions: The Art of Clay, Academy Art Museum, Easton, MD Other Dimensions, Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD Gallery Artists, Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, Telluride, CO, International Visions-The Gallery, Washington, DC, Martin Gallery, Charleston, SC
Mysterium, 2011 - 2012 Darnell Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM Preludes, 2011 International Visions - The Gallery, Washington, DC Fragments, 2010 Darnell Fine ArtSanta Fe, NM, Touching the Earth: Initiates and Muses, 2009 Darnell Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM Claire McArdle sculpture/Frank Sampson painting, 2009 Canyon Gallery, Boulder, CO Myth and Mystery, 2008 Darnell Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM Myth and Mystery: Sculpture and Drawings, 2008 Old Firehouse Art Center, Longmont, CO Spirits Rising: An Evening of Dance / Sculpture, 2007 Historic Dumbarton Church, Washington, DC The Horse, 2006 International Visions Gallery, Washington, DC Passages, 2004 Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD New Work: Dancers and Ancient Memories, 2003 Carla Massoni Gallery, Chestertown, MD Fire and Earth, 2000 International Visions Gallery, Washington, DC COMMISSIONS
Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL Saint Bede Church, Williamsburg, VA Marian House, Baltimore, MD The Holton-Arms School, Bethesda, MD Holy Trinity Church, Washington, DC Holy Redeemer College, Washington, DC
Claire McArdle grew up in the Washington DC metro area where she began studying art in high school. After earning a Bachelor in Fine Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University, she moved to Italy in 1988 to work with the master carvers in Carrara and continues to travel to Italian quarries to rough out her travertine and marble work. Her works are in private and public collections throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. She lives with her husband in Hygiene, Colorodo. www.cmsculpture.com PHOTO CREDITS: Jafe Parsons
PHOTO CREDIT: Patricia Jarvis