Artist’s Statement

I grew up the child of old country immigrants in a big city in New York State. There began my creative play: inspired by nature, restricted to my backyard and locked away drawing in my tiny room. As an adult, I am directly engaged with all that inspires me, sacrificing many conveniences to live in peaceful, often remote surroundings that free my soul to create.

My sculptures are personal talismans of a forgotten religion that I am remembering as they come to life in my studio.

I make art in order to make sense of my experience using fragments found along the way.

This process often involves deep immersion. Off- grid life provides the environment for my imagery to come to light. Metal casting is the alchemic process that transforms fragile natural forms and tenuous fabrications of memory into lasting testaments of engaged existence.

Metal is but one of the mediums I employ. My work often requires me to learn new processes

(within “old” media as the digital world has yet to enter my screen of visual interest) and finds my hands happily exploring their physical and expressive possibilities.

The content of my work has often been perceived as dark and reflective of the shadow side.

The images I bring forth are uncensored reflections of my inner world where, like in nature, there are no judgments.

Over many years, I have shared my passion for art through teaching sculpture at the university level. During my four year stint as an art therapist, I became keenly aware of the healing power of creative endeavors. This transformed my teaching and increased my awareness of art making’s role in my own process and its potential in general. These are the possibilities that I continue to explore  in my own work and studio teaching.


Mary Tartaro
Altared Space Sculpture Foundry
17th Avenue Complex Bldg B
998 A 17th Avenue
Santa Cruz CA. 95062


1992       M.F.A. in Sculpture, San Jose State University, San Jose ,CA.

1988       B.F.A. in Drawing and Painting, State University of New York, Oswego, N.Y.


2016              Arts Commissioner, City of Santa Cruz, CA.

2015-2016    Faculty Director, Natalie and James Thompson Gallery, Art and Art History,                              San Jose State University, San Jose, CA

2014-2015     Instructor-Santa Cruz Mountain Art Center, Ben Lomond, CA

2007-2011     Art Programs Coordinator- Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

2006-2007    Workshop Coordinator, The Lost Foundry, Blacksburg, VA.


2002-2006     Adjunct Professor of Art, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.

2006                Adjunct Professor of Art, Bluefield College, Bluefield, VA.

2001-2003      Adjunct Professor of Art, Radford University, Radford, VA.

1998-2001      Art Therapist, Tekoa School, Pilot,VA.

1998-2001      Founder and Gallery Director, Altared Space Artists’ Coop Gallery, Floyd,Va

1991,1992        Teaching Associate, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA.

1989,1990      Graduate Teaching Assistant, San Jose State University, San Jose,CA.

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