Portland artist Meredith Dittmar has rendered me completely speechless with her work and artistic philosophy. Upon first view, you might not notice that her intricate pieces are carefully molded from polymer clay. The details are astounding, hitting every component that I absolutely love in art from organic movement to bold, geometric pattern and lines …even perfecting vivid, slap you in the face color palettes. The imagery on her website is teeming with endless detail and further was I floored after reading her bio. Dittmar draws inspiration from biology, science, mathematics, physics, and integral theory, all very apparent in her creations. Her characters are “human-animal-plant-energy amalgams containing threads of common elements and colors to express deep levels of union across themes of biology, technology, and consciousness.” Many of the vivid moldings are essentially a study into her own consciousness and her struggle with present moment awareness… Never has an artists own words and work spoke so directly to me and where I currently find myself (and when I couldn’t be more amazed, come to find out she’s also a Mom!) You can imagine my excitement when Toy Art Gallery here in L.A. announced Transmutations. A showing featuring all new work from Dittmar.
In her own words: via
I first touched polymer clay 18 years ago, and very rapidly after, I began to create characters. A constant stream of unique faces numbering in the thousands have emerged from my fingertips. They gave my busy hands a job and brought me many varied commercial opportunities, but more importantly, guided me towards art and the realization that I am an artist for the long haul. Over the years the characters varied quite a bit in subject, size, and realism; and more recently, have left my work almost entirely. Throughout this transition I have frequently reflected on what this natural departure of the character might signify in the context of my life and work. Why get rid of them? They were, after all, what I built my career on. I kept hearing how much people really connected to the expressions, in particular the eyes. But I began to feel like, just maybe, they mistakenly thought they loved the character and its eyes, but what they really loved was what was coming through its eyes. I’ve been driven to find out just what is coming through the eyes that people connect with so greatly, and that exploration had been the basis of my artwork ever since. Using the strongest character at my disposal (myself) I began to look deeper and deeper. Shockingly- the attachment to the concept of MY character seemed to be the very thing getting in the way. So it began, somewhat against my choice, the systematic stripping away of the character. observing it, splitting it and looking behind it, until there was no thing and no one left. Working on this show allowed me to revisit character work as the plain ole’ fun and free activity it is, and has always been for me. While at the same time, I got to continue to dig under the story of the transmutation of my own “character”. The result is a merger of the two practices, arriving at a recognition of the underlying truth of both as the same.
Here is a sneak peek at some of her new character creations from the show which debuts tonight June 16 at the Toy Art Gallery. Can’t wait to see these in living color!