Ingrid Fregeau - Sculptor
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                  Ingrid Frégeau- Artist Statement
 

Sculpture is one of my ways of loving.  This series was about allowing me to share my love for artists.  That love for them started with the love for my mother, Marielle Lord, also an artist, a love that continues to this day and has transcended her to expand my family boundary to a more universal love for artists and their contribution to civilization.  I decided to honor those artists around me here, in East Hawaii, since we are each responsible witnesses of our time and community.

Honoring Our Artists Series started with a happy studio experience involving a good friend.  This friend was the very first one to come for a sitting, and it wasn't just by chance, but because he was a person of trust, agreeable company, and an artist himself, who could put me at ease, and with whom the pressure of a live art making performance was simply an invitation to enjoy life together.  That friend was Ray Johnson, a wonderful actor, turning a handsome 80 at the time.  He arrived out of breath from his walk uphill to our house, to sit for the 2012 Schaefer Portrait Challenge piece I was to present to the famous Maui doubled juried show.  

My husband Jerry Warren was an important part of the team, offering his best company, conversation, and best connoisseur wine tasting experience.  The session was an unexpected discovery: art could be shared, live, and happen in good company.  Ray's bust made it in the Maui exhibition, which achieved to convince us that something significant had took place in the little studio under the house.  Ray's bust was my best ceramic bust by far, as if I had made a sudden leap out of a hobby to a life project.  

Shared live art became a reality, as soon as I realized that I wanted to repeat the experience again and again.  We were still at the Maui airport on our way back to the Big Island after the Schaefer opening when I started to ask Patrick Sarsfield and Bob Weiss if they would be willing to come to the studio to sit for me.  The project was born.  It was  very clear to me why I was to start with artists themselves: artists understood the process, they were open minded, they were the people I identified with and admired the most, they were under-recognized by our society until hitting the stock market.  I wanted them alive, not dead!  

It all started without having much experience in private live sittings, and yet it was already original because everyone was talking, having a glass of wine, and enjoying music.  Nothing was still, everything- aside the coiled prepared structure- was intuitive.  A key element was the essential role played by Jerry during every sitting: entertaining our guest(s) so as to allow me to focus without ever being the center of attention.  I could watch, listen, and model the clay without having to necessarily join in the conversation.  Jerry is the perfect host!  So it went, one sitting at a time, one artist at a time.  Of course, as the project advanced, many reflections came to mind.  Slowly, I started to understand the true meaning of what I was doing.

No need to say that busts were never intended to be an esthetic revolution.  Busts are an old fashion, bourgeois form of art that have always been destined to a different social group than artists traditionally.  Busts were for the powerful, the rich, or the famous.  Well, this time busts were to be the long lasting celebration of the quiet creative minds, those of artists who have committed their life energy, time and passion to an activity that would be unlikely to reward them with power, riches, or fame.  With these busts, I wanted to recognize all artists because there is no art without artists.  Artists are like bridges, creating connections between people of all nations and all historical times, when they are not censored.  For that very reason, we share artists, and artists belong to the world, to all nations together.

I hope that Honoring Our Artists Series manages to convey how wonderful artists are, how I respect and admire artists' life work.  I value the artists over art, and celebrate Pygmalion’s love for Galatea.  The artists' passion will always be a great source of inspiration and admiration to me.  So, this project is about artistic passion, about the artist’s busy heart, loving hands, and clear eye.  This project was possible because of artists, with the artists, and for the artists.

Each bust was hand built with cone 5 clay about 1/4 in. coils and fully fired at cone 5 in an electric kiln using solar energy.  The busts are hollow like a jug upside down.  Some of the clay bodies are a mixture of several clays to create their unique natural color.  Engobe was used on some of the busts for the color, which means that the color is fired clay as well.  Some bust have pieces built and fired separately, such as flowers, earrings, or symbols that were attached afterward with copper wire.  Technics were explored as the series progressed.  The chest section of each bust became a surface to express my interpretation of the artist's personality as perceived during the sitting.

I wish to these busts a very nice journey in the present and in the future.  May their gaze inspire others to pay attention, to look at our world carefully, to be creative, inclusive, and open minded.  Work of art have a life of their own, and these bust will carry the features of our celebrated artists of east Hawaii to the future.