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ARTIST STATEMENT


The transformation of clay into art happens through an inner dialogue, a communion, of sorts, with the spirit of the person I am sculpting. When the physicality of working the clay transcends to a place of collaboration with my subject, it feels fluid and serene like a gentle rocking on waves, a sense of floating above the stress on my hands and wrists. The process, on the best days, takes me to a euphoric place beyond my conscious awareness. Sculpting, in this state, is the Balm of Gilead; it holds the power to soothe and heal.

My work begins with a thread of a story that piques my senses and sends me to libraries and online searching for films and videos, audio transcripts and written biographies—anything that sheds light on the nuances of this life. I am obsessively curious; I have to know what makes people tick, what pushed them beyond adversity, and why, when they could have quit, could have lived a quiet life, did they take on such difficulties?

To date, I have sculpted both public and private commissions that include President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Gloria Whitton Heath, and General Colin Powell. With each portrait, I have gone to great lengths to capture the accuracy of not only character, but of the era—right down to buttons, medallions, hats, and hairpins.

My latest series is a paean to great women who challenged the status quo, broke with convention, and paved the way for us all. Among these formidable women are code breaker Elizebeth Smith Friedman, whose genius work broke “the Enigma” code during WWII; Jeanne d’ Arc, Divine Defender whose vision both saved France and caused her demise; and Mary Magdalene, one of the most beloved of Jesus’ disciples. And Fly Girl, a work that salutes the earliest female fliers whose service who took to the skies despite grave danger, proving that women are every bit as tough and skilled as men.

I believe, ultimately, that the creation of art is about achieving balance and perspective, acceptance, and humility. When in harmony, works of art have an intrinsic healing power. My sculptures are created to exalt life, to inspire, and to offer hope.

— Laurie Barton

ARTIST BIO

Laurie Barton is a Northern Virginia based artist whose work has been exhibited and installed throughout the United States. She has been awarded commissions from public agencies and corporations across the country and her sculptures celebrate the lives and achievements of many public figures, such as President Franklin D. Roosevelt, General Colin Powell, Cardinal John O’Conner, Jim Lehrer, and others.

Laurie Barton’s commissions include, amongst others, the Norfolk Southern Corporation, the National War College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington DC; the Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Florida; Mercer Advisors in Scottsdale, Arizona; as well as the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Her recent figurative sculptures, which are inspired by people and their stories, explore narratives in which challenges and adversities are overcome. These works are meant to inspire the viewer by evoking a sense of hope.

In 2018, Laurie Barton was featured in the documentary Sculpting Hope, directed by Chelsea Low and produced by the Department of Motion Pictures and Film, Florida State University.

— Laurie Barton