Woman Lying Down
Mary Frank is an essentially self-taught sculptor and printmaker. She worked in wax and wood in the 1950s, with plaster in the 1960s, and primarily in terracotta since 1970. The fragmented figure is a recurring theme in Frank's art and, in this work, she recreates a female body in ten jagged segments arranged on a bed of beach sand. The terracotta pieces suggest broken artifacts found in archaeological excavations or the victims of the volcanic destruction of ancient Pompeii. Frank modeled the terracotta directly, adding powdered metal-oxide that produces brilliant cobalt blue surface to highlights after firing. Details were applied to the wet clay by incising lines and patterns, and in some works, by imprinting images of natural forms such as fossils and ferns. Like much of her art, "Woman Lying Down" is ambiguous, simultaneously sensual and spiritual, calming and disturbing. The figure's pose could be one of repose, suffering or sexuality. Frank instills the same presence and physicality in her equally powerful monoprints and drawings.