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Michelle Richardson, sculptor and mixed media artist, work on display at UMFK Blake Library Gallery

August 24, 2017

one of Michelle Richardson's creature sculpturesThe University of Maine at Fort Kent Blake Library Gallery will host sculptor and mixed media artist Michelle Richardson’s work entitled, “Creatures with Wings and Other Strange Spirits,” through September 29th.                                   

The exhibit is a collection about stories, with each sculpture representing a tale.

An opening reception will be scheduled on Friday, September 15 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to meet and greet the artist at the gallery. The exhibit is free and open to the public. 

In addition to the reception, an “Art Talk” has been planned for Thursday, September 27 from 10:20 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.

“I sculpt to discover what creatures are lurking in my subconscious,” said Richardson.  “Invariably the creatures arrive with stories in tow, which I interpret into sculpture.  Some of the sculptural tales are uniquely mine, such as a beast who catches stars, or a spirit that compulsively collects the remnants of lost dreams, broken hearts and fading wishes.  While other sculptures are based on ancient stories for example, the sacred ochre caves of our ancestors or Narcissus.  However, as I tend to view the world through a lens fantastic, whatever their starting point, the resulting sculptures are creatures and beasts of my own imagination.”

“When completed, the sculptures then pass out of my hands and into the world, carrying the stories with them.  They are all waiting in the gallery.  Every idea that ignited my imagination.  Every creature that demanded, I reach for a lump of clay,” said Richardson.

a sculpture of a winged creature, similar in appearance to a dragonAs for this collection, Richardson primarily used Activa La Doll Premier Air-Dry Clay, unless otherwise noted on the display card at the gallery.  As the clay is too soft to support itself when wet, she first creates a wire armature to act as a framework upon which Richardson layers clay, gradually building up the sculpture layer by layer until it matches a mental image or scribbled sketch.  The primary tools used to shape the wet clay are her hands.  She reaches for other tools only as the sculpture is nearing its’ final shaping.  Fine details are added while the clay is wet or carved after it is dry with an X-ACTO knife.

She added, “Sometimes the sculpture is accented with thin layers of paint.  Sometimes I leave the clay bare; a harkening back to the first sculptures carved out of pale bone or white marble.”

Michelle Richardson resides in northern Maine with her husband, John.  She earned a Bachelor of University Studies with a minor in English at UMFK. As an artist, Richardson is self-taught. She plans to attend art school in the near future to study ceramics and sculpture.

The exhibit may be view during regular Blake Library hours. For more information, please contact Gallery Curator Sofia Birden at 834-7527.

To view the library's website go to: https://www.umfk.edu/library/.