Mary Anne Turley-Emett graduated from Barnard College, and did graduate work at Georgetown School of Language and Linguistics, the Sorbonne, and Oxford University. She lived and worked as a translator in Paris for three years, and has traveled widely in the Far East.
She studied ceramic sculpture under Tony Marsh at California State University Long Beach, and has studios in Palm Desert and Newport Beach, California.
Over and over in my travels to China, Japan, Italy and Greece I've been intrigued by the mystery and beauty of artifacts from the past – objects whose beauty evokes not only their makers but also their users. A third century B. C. Greek cuirass, an Etruscan bronze mirror, a Chinese bronze wine vessel – all intricately worked and showing a high degree of respect for both form and function, but at the same time, often showing exuberant embellishments springing from the sheer joy of making.
In my studio with Italian Baroque music blasting away with its irresistible energy and rhythm, I feel connected to all the earlier makers, consumed with creative energy, outside time and place, subsumed by the making.
Many years ago in Hong Kong, before I knew I would be an artist, I saw a pair of unglazed ceramic chairs, about 18 inches tall. they were possibly Han Dynasty, side by side, but slightly turned toward each other, in a glass case. I was told they were found in a tomb. I'd never seen anything so ancient, nor anything that had such an immediate impact. That image, evoking the vanished couple with whom the chairs were buried, has emerged over and over again in my work, and as with vests and tunics, I hope evokes a once-present occupant, now absent.
Sandy Decker, who owns Decker Studios, the foundry that casts my work, is in charge of all conservancy for the Greek and roman bronzes at the Getty,and has taught me tremendous respect for the ancient art of lost wax bronze casting, as well as the incredibly complex art of patinisation.
Carla Massoni, owner of Carla Massoni Gallery in Chestertown, Maryland, represents me on the East Coast and it is largely through her generous and enthusiastic support that my art has found its way into homes all over the U.S. and Europe.