"I feel I've been passed a torch, and that's very, very exciting"
M.L. Snowden's life has been absolutely enveloped by sculpture. The artist's very earliest memories --virtually all waking moments-center on three-dimensional creations. Her father, the renowned George Holburn Snowden, allowed/encouraged his daughter to play in the family studio from the time she first showed interest in his art. From the age of four, she watched him with unwavering attention, enthralled and enchanted. And by the time she was seven, working in clay alongside him was a joyous routine.
As she matured, M.L. learned the time-honored, transcendental sculpting techniques embraced by her dad. His mentor, Yale's Robert George Eberhard, had been a protégé of the great French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. (1) The evolution of this unique heritage places a great responsibility on M.L. Snowden; it provides an additional artistic dimension to her work which is as challenging as it is pleasureful. The burden of shouldering this culmination of three generations worth of historically important innovation and insight gives birth to rewarding results: epiphanies. They make the flower of the French masters, Swiss-born Eberhard, and American-born George Snowden blossom beautifully in the contemporary expression of M.L. Snowden's remarkable works.
An Italian strain - a Michaelangelo-like "donna petrosa" effect - is exquisitely blended with it all. The artist's highly formative years (benefiting from post-graduate study grants to the Vatican Collections in Rome, the Uffizi in Florence, and the Louvre in Paris) may account for the exquisite element.
Part of this broad seminal heritage is generated by means of Rodin's original sculpting tools; a physical connection with her inheritance. The hallowed instruments -some of which the artist employs in sculpting her own works-are a grand symbol for M.L. Snowden and her patrons. They are an awe-inspiring foundation for her work, and an added impetus for support of her utter devotion and Rodin's legacy.
Snowden's contributions to sculpture have been acknowledged by collectors and the highest authorities alike. She was awarded the inaugural Alex Ettl Grant from the National Sculpture Society for "Lifetime Achievement in American Sculpture" at the early age of only 36. And in 1992, the world's most prestigious sculpture prize --the International Rodin Competition Special Grand Prize--
was bestowed upon her (for "Cataclasis"). For that competition --involving a multitude of sculptors from thirty-two countries-- the winner was selected without recourse to the identity of any of the candidates.
Among the many esteemed commissions accepted by the artist (2), the Main Altar of the new 200 million dollar Los Angeles Cathedral -dedicated in 2002-- is particularly noteworthy, as she was chosen from a field of over 8,000 international sculptors. Currently, she's been developing the central sculpture for the immortal heart of the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. Entitled "Flame of Liberty," it is slated to stand in the center pool between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.
Her most recent creations are infused with geological/universal themes, humanizing the forces of Nature with great humility. She enables viewers to feel phenomena that are otherwise inaccessible, encourages collectors to intuit meanings behind the abstract. And whether or not one has momentary contact or prolonged exposure to the artistry, purity and authenticity of her creations penetrate to the core of our higher consciousness.(3)
1. Eberhard was also a protégé of both Antonin Mercie and Victor Peters; the techniques employed by Snowden, passed on to his daughter, are truly singular.
2. An impressive list of M.L. Snowden commissions and collections (the latter including a work which is a part of the permanent White House Presidential Art Collection) is available upon request.
3. Technical expertise and secret formulas aside (i.e., Rodin's Fournier patina), the artist deserves the appellation of "greatest living sculptor" by virtue of her spirit, a function of her soulful raison d'etre.
"The geological program is the beginning stepping stone. The heroic possibilities of man; the risks and courage of striving, the fire and passion of creative enterprises, the spiritual force of men as they struggle for the actuation of their plans and work, these horizons are bundled into the sinew of the clay."
M.L. SNOWDEN Master Sculptor
“As the heir to the proprietary sculptural formulas of Auguste Rodin and Antonin Mercié, Snowden's masterful modeling, profound vision, and ground breaking bronze techniques, have established her reputation at the forefront
of contemporary figurative sculpture.”
Dr. Marie Busco, PhD., Curator and Author, “Rodin and His Contemporaries: The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collection”
1952. M.L. Snowden is born on the Ides of March to movie star Louise Illington and sculptor George Holburn Snowden .
1957. M.L. Snowden is brought into her father's studios , where he works on the sculptural programs of the immense Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C. , which include heroic-sized limestone carvings for the exterior as well as the marble Main Altar and baldachin .
1974. M.L. Snowden is a Magna C um Laud e Honors graduate of Loyola Marymount University .
1974 - 76. M.L. Snowden is acknowledged with an award by the TRY Foundation , as well as receiving Redken post graduate grants for European study at the Conservatoire dall'Abaco in Verona , Italy , with subsequent study conducted at the Louvre in Paris , France ; The Uffizi in Florence , and the Vatican Collections in Rome , Italy .
1978. M.L. Snowden conceives of and names the Cornaro Scholarship for Graduate Studies, a national award honor .
1989. M.L. Snowden is awarded the inaugural Alex Ettl Prize for Lifetime Achievement in American Sculpture, an award given to the collected works of a sculptor's career through the oldest professional organization of sculptors in America , The National Sculpture Society .
1990. Upon the death of her father, M.L. Snowden inherits 38 working tools of Auguste Rodin
1992. Snowden is named World Winner of the International Rodin Competition with the Hakone Open-Air Museum Special Prize for the sculpture Cataclasis ( selected from a field of professional entries from 38 countries ) . Cataclasis is purchased for the permanent collection of the Hakone Open-Air Museum in Japan .
1998. After the death of her mother, Snowden continues sculpture with the signing of the Carano Gordon Atlanta Commission Contract to build the largest body of Fournier bronze in the latter half of the 20th century.
2000. Snowden is named sculptor of the Main Altar of the new $200 million Los Angeles Cathedral , as well as creator of the first angels for a permanent public setting in the history of Los Angeles , “The Los Angeles Angel Frieze , ” installed in the Cathedral's Visitors Center.
2001. Respective sculpture still pending, Snowden builds the scale model for the conceptual heart of the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. slated to stand between the Lincoln and Washington Memorials.
2003. Snowden enters into a second phase contract of the massive Carano Gordon Atlanta Commission to build her vision for bronze for the 21st century .
2004. Snowden creates the monumental public installation, the 14 foot high bronze “Shield Protectite” for the Glendale Police Civic Plaza of the City of Glendale, California .
2005. Recognizing her work as the perfected version of Auguste Rodin, an Australian Art Trust adds M. L. Snowden's complete body of works to its private collection with a view of establishing a museum in Australia dedicated to Snowden.
2006. Snowden's sculpture, Cataclasis , is added to the Presidential Art Collection at the White House .
2007. Snowden completes Sirius sculpture for the Stellar Sphere Group/ Celestial Array. She begins the first sculpture entitled Angstrom for the Empire of Light /Celestial Array for exhibition at Jacob Javits Center, New York City.
She completes conceptual notebook "Concepts of Light for Sculpture" with 16 color drawings
Snowden begins Halo sculpture armature and sculpts beginning phases of the epic site work Creation's Gate.
Ongoing: The National Museum of Women in The Arts, Washington D.C. ; Brookgreen Museum Sculpture Gardens ( the foremost sculpture garden in America ) , and The National Sculpture Society maintains historic archives for the life and career of M.L. Snowden