Plainsboro Public Library – November 2017 – Plainsboro resident and artist J. Marion Simmons exhibits a collection of ceramic sculpture and reliefs at the Plainsboro Library Gallery in November. Executed with exquisite detail, the pieces displayed by Simmons are a combination of realistic human figures and portraits, and freestanding organic and architectural forms. An art reception will be held Sunday, November 5, 2 – 4 pm; the artist will give an informal chat about her inspiration and technical processes, including clay mixtures and glazes, at 3 pm, and will be open to questions. The exhibit runs October 28 – November 29.

From an early interest in drawing and sculpting, Simmons continued to formally study art and obtained a BFA degree from University of Maryland, and an MFA from School of Visual Art, NYC. Through the years she has focused on realistic figurative sculpture and reliefs, as well as 3-D forms. According to Simmons, “Sculpture has a physical presence; it can be touched, be part of and interact with our environment. The desire to create, not just an illusion on a flat surface, but a form in the round — stone flesh — is what draws me to working in clay.” She is inspired by the great sculpture and sculptural reliefs of the Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical and Romantic periods, as well as by individual artists like Clodion, Poussin, Bernini, Rude and other lesser known sculptors of those eras. “The rich intricate surface of reliefs engages the viewer in the figures and scenery as it appears to come alive off the surface of the clay canvas.”

In sculpting her high relief portraits, the artist is drawn to the unique characteristics and subtleties in a person’s face. According to Simmons, “Many of the pieces in the show are portraits of everyday people; I try to subtly catch their spirit in the lines in their face and expression. I love to study faces and feel the power of their presence. Capturing a true image of the person in clay is satisfying, I feel like I’m visiting with them, understanding their struggle and life’s story. It is my hope that the portraits offer some insight into the character of my subjects and the content of their soul.” Her reliefs and sculptures go beyond the portrait, and often involve whimsical compositions or objects. “Fantastical, everyday and quiet reflective scenes are the themes of my reliefs. A story in 3-d creating a whimsical scene, or a heartfelt expression. Eggs have been a recurring theme in my work throughout the years too. I’m drawn to the egg’s sensual shape, creating large crystal glazed eggs, small eggs, eggs with lizards, and a figure of a woman protecting her eggs.”

J. Marion Simmons has shown her work in various area art venues including: TAWA Portrait Show & the Mercer County Artists Exhibit, in West Windsor, NJ; Gallery 125 in Trenton, NJ; Ellarslie Open exhibits at the Trenton Museum, Trenton NJ; juried Art Shows at Phillips Mill, New Hope, PA; and the Arts Council of Princeton, Princeton, NJ.

The Plainsboro Library is located at 9 Van Doren Street, Plainsboro, NJ. Hours are 10-8:30 Monday – Thursday, and 10-5 Friday – Sunday.  For more information, call 609-275-2897.


Donna Senopoulos
Plainsboro Public Library

J. Marion Simmons