TRICIA ZIMIC

NATURE/NURTURE

SINS

VIRTUES

ABOUT

(b. 1957, Glen Cove, NY, lives and works in Upper Black Eddy, PA)

Tricia Zimic’s highly detailed works in white porcelain are humorous reflections on the lives and experiences of animals. Each sculpture is one-of-a-kind and hand-modelled, drawing from historic Meissen porcelain ware to address notions of sins & virtues. As an artist and conservationist, Zimic highlights the natural world—animals as well as the environments surrounding them. Her work remarks on the devastation of urban sprawl and the threat to wild creatures in their habitats.

Zimic’s sculpture has been acquired by the New Jersey State Museum, (Trenton, NJ), the Morris Museum, (Morristown, NJ), and private collections throughout the United States and Europe. Zimic is the founder and curator of the Wildflower Sculpture Park, (South Orange, NJ). She completed her undergraduate degree at the Parsons School of Design followed by further study at the New Jersey Center of Visual Arts and the Art Students League.

TRICIA ZIMIC

ON HER WORK

Animals have always been a passion for me. We have a lot to learn from them; they are practical, hilarious, love their offspring,
conserve energy, are never obese, and emotionally honest creatures. Whether illustrating children’s books or sculpting in porcelain, I use animals to tell stories. Each of my sculptures are one-of-a-kind and hand-modeled. I roughly sculpt my figure from a sketch and then deconstruct the limbs, refine the details, hollow out each piece, and reassemble the sculpture. It seems like a lot of work, but in the end it’s the only way I found that works for me. The uniqueness of my work is in the fine details.

ON NATURE/NURTURE

My porcelain sculpture series “Sins & Virtues” harkens back to the original Meissen masterworks by Johann Joachim Kändler, when men were the only artists recognized and producing great works. My work is the contemporary female extension of the Meissen heritage with a sensual touch. The Seven Deadly Sins and Virtues are a timeless quest for all storytellers, but women have been the primary vessels for passing stories down from one generation to another. Having started originally as a book illustrator, telling a story in clay not only comes naturally to me, but is a tradition and a legacy.

ON SINS & VIRTUES

Artists have been creating stories in clay for centuries. The Chinese discovered porcelain in 25-220 AD during the Han dynasty. It wasn’t until 1708 when Germany first introduced porcelain to Europe. As the story goes, the king of Poland and the Prince of Saxony commissioned a research project to bring porcelain (aka “ white gold ”) from China to the Western World. This created a revolution in both functional wear and sculpture.

Several porcelain factories emerged at that time in Europe, the most famous in Meissen, Germany. These important factories produced outstanding works of art meant mostly for royalty. Elaborately sculpted figurative scenes created in this new exciting clay were sometimes placed on dining room tables to stimulate conversation. The subjects often included animals dressed up in costume such as the Monkey Orchestra (Meissen). Seeing this work in person sparked my interest in the porcelain world, which speaks to my love of telling a story.

While in Germany, I visited both the Meissen Porcelain Gallery and the Dresden Porcelain Collection to observe hundreds of porcelain sculptures, deepening my commitment to this special clay. When I returned home, I continued my search for porcelain sculptures. The Boston Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Frick, The Wadsworth, and The Philadelphia Museum of Art all had splendid collections to glean ideas. The fire was lit and I was ready to create my own menagerie!

I decided to base my work on the classic Seven Deadly Sins (who hasn’t sinned?) and the Seven Virtues. This theme, depicted using animals, provides so much emotionally charged material to explore, discover, and enjoy. I also now know that animals look great in 16th century French feathered hats! After creating the first sculpture, called “ Deceit ,” I stumbled upon an 18th century sculpture in the Philadelphia Museum of Art so similar to my own that I knew I was on the right track.

DIRECTOR NOTES ON TRICIA ZIMIC

Known as an accomplished painter, Zimic was inspired to work in porcelain after a visit to Dresden and the massive Meissen menagerie. Further research and visits to the extraordinary collections at the MFA Boston and Wadsworth Atheneum led to Sins & Virtues, a series of related paintings and porcelain sculpture. The series draws inspiration from Meissen’s Monkey Orchestra, satirical figurines of fashionably dressed monkeys imitating human behavior. Zimic uses this tradition of anthropomorphism to deliver contemporary social commentary from a female perspective.