MaryAnn Ferguson was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of a career officer in the US Army whose postings took the family to Japan, Virginia and twice to Hawaii, where the family retired when MaryAnn was 9 years old.
Fashioned from clay bearing aesthetic tastes honed from a life sustaining experience of Hawaii's natural wonders, MaryAnn Ferguson from an early age was imprinted with a deep seeded Passion for Color. From a young life exploring the vivid mountain rainforests and cascading streams, to the physical experience of the Pacific Ocean's power and hypnotic tranquility both above and below, MaryAnn's work shares a wisdom of a vital natural history. As does the beach sand, once living coral or liquid rock from deep within the earth, MaryAnn's work fashioned from elemental clay finds new resonance from her impressions of nature's beauty and wonders.
Foliage, leafy vines, coral reef structures, seaweeds, and seemingly familiar biomorphic forms are the subject inhabitants of MaryAnn Ferguson’s ceramic art.
Her sculpted works, composed of scenes unattributed to a specific place, echo forms found in nature. What makes her work particularly appealing is the very personal emotive reference to that lifelong love of paradise; that kaleidoscopic world, filled with warm impressions of organic beauty that finds new life in her sculpted art.
All cultures are cognizant of clays consequence; it is intrinsically linked to our understanding of human ascendancy. Ceramics traces the footsteps of humankind’s timeline of evolution. The Intimate bonding with an elemental material, with the tools being mainly the artist’s hands, clay evinces the interrelation of this art form to human population's prepotency. Throughout the eons mankind's clay forms have echoed forms found in Nature.
Tessellated biomorphic shapes populate platters, votive vases and sculpted table top objects, that create the visuals full of kaleidoscopic high-keyed flora and colorfully patinated fragments of coral reef. The intricate layers and delicate patterns offer a glimpse into an ethereal ecosystem, hand-built with intricate forms, consciously combined in the harmonious way of nature. In a way, we discover the fantastic sculpted worlds of MaryAnn, and her Passion of Color is reflected in the beauty of nature that seems to come to life.
I create my ceramic sculptures out of raw clay. In order to achieve texture, depth and focus, I tear, imprint, pierce or smooth the clay, then adhere the pieces to each other with clay slip. I use a variety of finishes: underglazes, glazes, paints, rubber and metal finishes, to name a few.
Sometimes I have a clear idea of what I am going to create, other times my art seems to create itself. I draw my influences and passions from growing up in Hawaii, where vivid colors were a natural part of my life. Each color kindles inside of me a special kind of joy and excitement for living. Orange reminds me of picking guavas with my best friend early in the morning; blue recalls the bliss of bodysurfing at Makapuu Beach; yellow is the hot Hawaiian sun warming me, and so on.
My first connection with creating art to express myself was in 4th grade. My teacher was displeased that I created a collage that included, but was not limited to, her guidelines. I realized for the first time that thinking for myself was not always rewarded.
However, I was not discouraged because soon after this experience I saw my first Vincent Van Gogh painting, which my mother explained was created from his personal point of view. I felt an instant connection to him and he has remained a lifelong inspiration to my artwork. The art movement in the 60’s with Andy Warhol, Peter Max and Jackson Pollock, to name just a few, made me feel right at home and confirmed for me that there was and is a place in this world for my art.