Creation Date



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bronze and ceramic


Dimensions: 4'9" x 22"

Artist Statement

Throughout my school career, as I've learned the many different techniques and tools used to make art, I often find myself marveling at the beauty and simplicity of taking these basic elements of earth and through acquired skills and instinctive creativity breathing life and meaning into them through form and expression. We learn the science of art, how to mix and manipulate those elements; forged and cast metals, formed clay bodies, and all the pigments for paints and glazes.

It seems no wonder many of the early great masters were also alchemists, scientists and philosophers. Classical and medieval art and science were greatly influenced by the work of the Greeks. Greek tradition classified earth, air, fire and water as the basic elements and fundamental building blocks of nature. Paracelsus (a medieval physician, alchemist and philosopher) assigned mythological beings to the four elements, known as Elementals. The Gnome as the spirit of earth, the Undine as the spirit of water, the Sylph as the spirit of wind, and the Salamander as the spirit of fire.

In my work I want to embody the beauty and simplicity I find in the idea and use of these simple elements and to personify them. I use the elements of water and earth in clay and bronze, manipulate them with the elements of fire and air to create form and through form an expression of beauty and an embodiment of the spirit of creativity.


© Sonja Marlene Barber, 2014. Photo credit: Carrie Quinney.