The Rarity of the Female Sculptor

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Time to read 4 min

Throughout art history, female sculptors have been rare. Even rarer than female painters.

Due to the physicality of the medium and the challenges that it presented, in the past sculpture was mostly seen as the domain of male artists. And for a time, it was rare, even unusual for a woman to pursue this art form. Yet, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, women began to seriously pursue careers as professional sculptors. Today, although still among the few, women are pushing the boundaries and breaking new ground in the world of sculpture for each successive generation.

Sorrel Sky is proud to represent several talented female sculptors working in bronze. These women are celebrated and awarded in the art world, and sought after by collectors. Their works range from one-of-a-kind vessels to small critters you can hold in the palm of your hand, to monumental works found in public settings across the country. We invite you to explore the works of Patsy Davis, Lisa Gordon, Christin Ortiz, Rosetta, and Star Liana York and get to know them better.


PATSY DAVIS

Patsy’s work in bronze reflects many years of discipline and attention to detail. But more importantly, are the stories her sculptures tell, the sense of movement, and most of all a glimpse into the hearts and minds of the animals she portrays. Patsy is a carver and her process is to subtract rather than model the form. She relies on strong planes rather than soft round forms or modeled surfaces. For Patsy, the form must always be good design. Equally important for her is to capture the moment of life portrayed. Thirdly, there is often an allegorical thread underlying each of her sculptures.

“I believe that great design is timeless. It is certainly influenced and often inspired by the time in which it is created, but the trends do not define what is or is not good art. I am very sensitive to the difference between making art for the marketplace and simply making art.”

— Patsy Davis


LISA GORDON

Lisa's passion for bronze casting and her fondness for horses are clearly seen in her powerful, yet sensitive sculptures. For her, the relationship that she develops with a horse while grooming and bonding through touch, mirrors the feelings of running her fingers over was as it warms and molds into muscles and gestures that evolve into a horse's form and in turn, into a sculpture. Breathing new life into a historical subject, her work portrays horses balanced on spheres, walking through hoops, straddling pedestals, swaying on rockers, or bouncing on springs. Lisa places these powerful creatures in whimsical scenes as a metaphor for the human experience, demonstrating the balance between having fun and giving life purpose.

“The horse is the figure through which I actualize my ideas. It becomes a tangible bridge between the viewer and me. Horses are powerful, but that’s not what they need in a situation of precarious balance. They’re massive, physical beings, but there’s a frailty and delicacy of the legs—much like the human soul.”

— Lisa Gordon


Christin Ortiz

Christin grew up surrounded by numerous artists. As a part of her family’s bronze-casting foundry, she developed a style of art that was entirely her own. Creating her first piece when she was only ten years old, her work has now been sought after and collected for over 30 years by clients throughout the United States. Each of her bronze vessels is an original, as she doesn’t create any molds. Her use of different stones, crystals, and shells makes her work unique and interesting. Christin’s clients have included The First Lady of New Mexico, Alice King, The Council of Energy Resource Tribes in Colorado, and Los Alamos National Lab.


Rosetta

Rosetta creates sculptures of animals that depict the life force of the animal, in all of its visual splendor, rather than a realistic depiction of outward appearances. While keeping the animal’s basic form true to reality, it is her interpretation of that form, motion, and inner spirit that is an expression of her art. Rosetta’s style has been described as hard-edged yet soft, sensitive yet powerful. It is a combination of her great appreciation for the wondrous qualities of beauty, power, and profound innocence that she personally senses in the animals, a blending of realism and abstraction. Her piece, High Country Totem, seen above, received First Place 3-Dimensional at Cowgirl Up! 2023.

“I don’t consider creating sculpture to be part of my job … sculpture has always been something I have done for the pure joy of it.”

— Rosetta


Star Liana York

Star has been creating a vast body of work for over three decades. Her soulful sculptures reflect her interest in the people, animals, environment, and history of the Southwest. A continuing source of inspiration for her bronze sculptures comes from exploring the history and culture of the region’s native peoples and the mythology of ancient sacred sites. An avid horsewoman, her daily rides in the surrounding open vistas on her ranch near Abiquiu, New Mexico keep her deeply connected to the environment that she loves. Her monumental bronze sculptures are held in collections across the country including the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.; Miami Zoo in Miami, Florida, and Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, NM.

“When a character emerges from a work I am sculpting, I feel touched at a deeply intimate, subconscious level. It is the essence in a work of art that makes it intensely personal and entirely universal at the same time.”

— Star Liana York


Reach out to our team of art advisors with any questions about the sculpture seen in this blog. We'd love to see you in the gallery, where you can experience the works of these female sculptors and more.