Joanne Burke lives and works in Rome with her partner, the artist Emi Naggi, in a residence built in the 19th century by the sculptor Giuseppe Sartorio. The outside walls of the building are decorated with sculptures of philosophers, artists and poets’ faces, enveloping the home in a shroud of mystery that commingles harmoniously with Joanne’s world. The studio is lined with large, high windows that let in ample light. The spacious, peaceful room is furnished with a wooden table, large paintings and workbenches brimming with miscellaneous objects, like little shrines. On the floor, Joanne has laid out her study photos for the Twig pieces: varied arrangements of organic shapes composed from dried flowers and sculpted in wax. She has invented her own alphabet of letters that can be combined to form strings of words and phrases that are as melodic and brilliant as those come from her own lips. The wax compositions are then cast in molds for replication in bronze. ‘The pieces I sculpted grew from this idea of elongating and lengthening a woman whose torso was made from a shell ; they are inspired by the flowing movement of long hair and twigs,’ she explains. The twig arrangements slip into one’s hair, caress the neck and come to life with the slightest nod of the head.
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