Marble sculpture: Figurative, Abstract, Liturgical, Public

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A marble sculpture by MJ Anderson, entitled "Conjunction"


Oregon Public Broadcasting's "Think Out Loud":
"Italy’s famed marble quarries beckon and inspire Oregon sculptor"

September 13, 2023
At SJIMA: A Different Perspective - M.J. Anderson
September 23 - December 5, 2022

Sculpture artist M.J. Anderson will tell you that she sculpts because someone needed to portray the female form differently. See for yourself in ANTIDOTE, an exhibition of her work on display now through Dec. 5 at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art (SJIMA) in Friday Harbor.
Marble sculptures by MJ Anderson
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Recent Essay/Review By Richard Speer

“The Scars that Give a Stone its Soul:
M.J. Anderson’s Ineffable Beauties”
An onyx sculpture by MJ Anderson
Read the full essay

Working Studios

Carrara, Italy

Mary Jo Anderson in her Carrara, Italy marble studio, posing with carved torsos

Nehalem, Oregon

Mary Jo at work in her marble sculpture studio

I am an artist dealing with personal, social and political themes. I carve stone because I feel it is the least artificial of art forms and the most enduring to our humanity.
While classical imagery of the figure is predominantly from a male perspective, my work is often that of a woman carving the story of woman in the first person. Much of my figurative sculpture focuses on an unapologetic pose, front on and present, a portrait of woman as participant in the viewing of herself.
Instead of trying to carve figures and images -- whether realistic or abstract, I try to carve what it feels like to be human, to convey the unspoken emotions of our being here, to create an image of the intangible.

Working in outside studios for almost 40 years on the Oregon Coast and Carrara, Italy, I am affected by the weather, time of day and seasonal changes. The drama and nuance of light are my constant companions and collaborators.  Similar to my approach with figure, I am just as concerned with what a sculpture evokes as with how it appears.  When I first encounter the striated layers of green onyx, I saw and felt water —petrified water.  As I cut, grind and polish the onyx, I am allowed to not only give form to the elements of air and water, mists and rain, but to connect with the ineffable, the cosmos within.  As changing light combines with the translucency of onyx, an ethereal dynamic is at work.  
Just as the sea or river changes color with the weather or time of day, a sculpture may at times seem to glow from within or show itself as bold opaque silhouette.