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Maria Artemis: Mining Materials
by Rebecca Dimling Cochran

The best ideas often come when you least expect them. For a year, Maria Artemis worked on her show for the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. Armed with a Working Artists Program award from the Charles Loridans Foundation, which provided her with financial support and a paid studio assistant for one year, the Atlanta-based artist assembled an impressive group of sculptures and a video installation. But one piece remained a sketch, an idea whose physical manifestation had yet to be resolved. One day, while walking at her farm outside Athens, Artemis passed by a pile of discarded branches recently pruned from a fig tree. The intertwining of the twigs reminded her of the latticework that she was trying to resolve in her drawing. Dragging an armful back to the studio, she began to experiment, and in a relatively short time, Hermeion (2009), which Artemis translates as “windfall, or gift of the gods,” was created. This exquisite piece is representative of Artemis’s work in many ways. An intuitive artist who capitalizes on random discoveries, she also has a sensitivity to materials that allows her, in her words, to “mine the essence” of each one to visually express her thoughts or ideas. Sometimes this means leaving sections in their natural state; other times, it means carefully working a material into the desired shape and texture.

Spin II, 2000.
Wood, bronze, steel, and paint, 8 x 4 x 4 ft.

Image: Courtesy the artist


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