Claire McArdle, ‘Torso Noci Piccola’, Artist's Proof

For thousand 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 belief and myths of creation, man’s place in the universe, and his relationship to nature.

Claire McArdle’s (American, b. 1959) interest in art and mythology began as a child. Drawn to the art and artifacts from the prehistoric and ancient world, McArdle recognized the 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. McArdle’s work is an extension of her constant revisiting of these myths and mysteries as she bridges the relationship between the ancient world and our modern existence. The female torso, sculpted in marble, terra-cotta, bronze and other mediums, represents the Prima Madre, the archetype of the Earth Mother, sacred and forgotten. McArdle’s sculptures synthesize elements of traditional classical sculpture with aesthetic qualities found in Cycladic sculpture and cave art. Her energy for exploring these mysteries and an insatiable passion for working stone, clay, and bronze, combine to create forms with harmonious balance and an ethereal quality.

McArdle’s terracotta sculptures are one of kind original works. This terracotta is quarried in Serre di Rapolano, (Senese), Italy. McArdle discovered this clay body while working in the travertine quarries in this area famous for Etruscan ceramics. She uses this clay to obtain the unique textures and color. While the work is still moist, many layers of terra sigillata are applied to create the multitude of colors. Terra sigillata is an ancient technique of applying a fine slip with natural pigments. After the first firing, the second application of glaze is applied and the work is fired a second time.

McArdle aims to create timeless work that resonates with spirit. In this process, she develops expressions of her personal mythology, bound to my ancestors through the archetype, altered by the world in which she lives, made unique by her hand. Claire McArdle is an internationally recognized sculptor. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University, McArdle moved to Carrara, Italy in 1988 to study with the master carvers and learned centuries-old production techniques. She maintains a studio in Colorado, where she lives with her husband on their ranch on the front range of the Rocky Mountains, and Carrara Italy where she sources the marble and various stones used in her sculptures.

Series: Travertine

About Claire McArdle

Claire McArdle’s artwork traverses tropes of classical sculpture while drawing on the artist’s own imaginings and mythology. Crafted in marble, bronze, terra-cotta, and other media, McArdle’s sculptures synthesize elements of traditional classical sculpture with aesthetic qualities found in Cycladic sculpture and cave art. Growing up in Washington D.C., McArdle was exposed to the city’s rich array of cultural institutions at a young age and developed an attraction to classical forms early on. After completing her undergraduate degree, she traveled to Carrara, Italy, to study with artisans learned in centuries-old production techniques.

American, c. 1959, Washington, D.C., based in Colorado

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