“Demeter” Bronze Sculpture by Barbara Serota

“Demeter” Bronze Sculpture by Barbara Serota
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“Demeter” bronze 1/19 abstract sculpture by Barbara Serota.

Barbara, whose work as a sculptor was greatly influenced by the English sculptor Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975), is telling us about about her life as an artist and the time when Demeter was created…

“…By the time I was a teenager, I understood that I was meant to be an artist in this lifetime. That knowledge compelled me to spend the summer of 1969 in Europe, where I spent much time in great museums … the Tate, the Louvre and the Orangerie, the Prado and the Rijksmuseum. After college graduation in 1971, I couldn’t wait to get back and returned this time for a year, armed with my well-studied copy of Europe on $5. A Day. Astounding art museums, sculpture gardens and ancient, mystical places … these were my sustenance and my stomping grounds, and staying in youth- hostels brought extraordinary conversations and communion with fellow travelers from all over the world.

“What I most resonated with was 3-dimensional art … both pottery vessels and sculpture. I discovered that I have a visceral connection to forms that flow with beautiful lines in space and the abstract gestures of nature. The work of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore always stopped my breath and drew me into their beings … I could communicate with them … I knew these forms, and I felt them with a trembling heart.

“From 1975 – 1977 I went back to university for a fine arts degree from U.T. – Austin. I loved every minute of those weeks, months and years when I was completely immersed in creating art. While in a sculpture class I literally disappeared into the studio and created “Demeter.” Starting with a 40-pound block of clay, I began to carve with an indescribable feeling flowing from heart to fingers. I wasn’t thinking, I had no drawings, I was moving with a sure inner guidance. I hardly slept for days and when the clay piece was complete, I knew I had to carve her out of wood or stone. I laminated 5 huge slabs of maple into a rectangular block about 30 inches tall and first roughed it out with a chainsaw. Then I began the work of creating the piece with chisels and mallet … I soon fully understood Michelangelo’s comment that he was merely releasing his beings from beneath the stone. I felt like a birth mother and worked feverishly for months until she was complete.

“My husband, Alan and I met in the ceramics department and we formed a vision of our life as potters and artists, living close to nature and true to our creative spirits. Our first studio, in Telluride, Colorado, was in a 100-year-old cabin next to a high mountain stream. For 5 years we lived simply in this magical place that provided introspection and creative quietude, which are the province of young, committed artists. Today we live and work at our studio/home in the beautiful Texas hill country outside Austin. In 2002 we chose to cast Demeter in bronze at Deep in the Heart Art Foundry in Bastrop, Texas. Our mantra continues to guide us … Life as art …”

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