Artist Mollie Seymour’s mosaic plaque is a depiction of a small pueblo of cliff dwellings in a rugged canyon with water and sky rendered in bold andamento. Mollie made this for the mosaic for the courtyard of a condominium. I wanted to share it because it is a good example of using mixed-media mosaic to make a bas-relief sculpture.
MMM: Where a Pipe Really Is a Pipe
Mixed-media mosaic (MMM) is a medium of art where elements of a composition can actually be the item being “depicted.” For example, a mosaic face could be smoking a real pipe. The artist can use a mix of found objects and elements rendered in conventional tile to produce results that engage the mind as both image and symbol all at once.
Using an object to represent itself in a larger image gives the art an added “dimension” that is at the heart of consciousness.
In mathematics and linguistics as well as in art, there is deep discussion about semantics vs syntax, and this aspect of mixed-media mosaic illustrates the problem in a profound way.
Mollie’s Pueblo Cliff Dwellings mosaic uses rough chunks of stone to render the rock face of the canyon wall
The dwellings appear to be made from piece of stone floor tile that was cut up with a wet saw, which is a powered rotary saw used to cut large tiles the same way a table saw is used to make long cuts in plywood.
The large floor tiles made from porcelain or another ceramic of some type textured to look like rough stone could have been used in the same way and probably would have been easier to cut without breaking than most types of stone. Making the doorway cutouts would have been particularly problematic with a more brittle material prone to breaking along invisible fault lines.
Elements like the square-ish dwellings with doorways cut out could have been custom-made and fired in a pottery studio, and that approach is frequently used in mixed media mosaic for certain elements, although it is usually used for something more detailed. (Think things like people and animals and signs with text.)
Rounded white stones were used as clouds. Notice how they are recognizable as clouds. Even though stone was also used for the face of the cliff and the border framing the mosaic, there isn’t any confusion about what the rounded white stones are supposed to be. I suspect many artists would have been afraid to do it that way, but everything about Mollie’s mosaic is bold and enthusiastic. I like very much.
About the Artist
Mollie’s most recent email to me said this:
I forgot to add I’m 92 and didn’t start mosaic work until I was 80. I’ve done about 60 pieces since then.
Wow! This mosaic is impressive work for an artist of any age. I can’t wait for Mollie to email me more pictures!