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"I tend to focus on subjects familiar to me or which give me a special sense of personal satisfaction. Much of my work is action oriented. I want people to be able to identify with it to understand what is going on. I want viewers to recognize and feel some of the same emotion that made the piece happen. For example, when people see Sack Race I want them to smile and hear the voice inside them saying, Yes, I remember."
Ashby Saunders worked in advertising, public relations, and real estate before becoming a sculptor. Saunders' rediscovery of his love of clay coincided with a dramatic loss of vision, triggering his retirement from real estate and pursuit of sculpture. Thankfully his vision does not hinder his ability to create heartfelt sculptures of clay and bronze.
Saunders sculptures tell short and simple stories through subject matter and movement. Saunders aims to capture a personal emotion in his sculpture so that the story instilled in the piece creates a sense of nostalgic joy and personal connection within the viewer. In order to achieve this, Saunders often sculpts people frozen in motion and absorbed by life's joy.
The installation of Sack Race in the Central Park of Doylestown in 1998, has elicited much pleasure from viewers with its whimsical figures full of humanity and glee. The overwhelmingly positive response to this work lead to another commission from the Bucks County community in 2008, in which Saunders created The Community Service and Veterans Memorial, a service memorial in honor of ordinary citizens who have benefited the community since colonial times. Ambiguous portraits that adorn the relief sculpture symbolize the various roles and occupations of Bucks County citizens through headgear, clothing, and accessories.
Although primarily self-taught, Saunders has studied with local sculptors, George Anthonisen and Mary Louise Wentzel.
Ashby Saunders with his piece, The Community Service and Veterans Memorial. Image courtesy of the artist.
Education and Training
Liberal Arts College, Virginia
Masters in Public Relations, Boston University, Boston,Massachusetts, USA, 1960
YMCA Sculpture Class, Central Bucks Family YMCA, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1970s
Life Modeling, Johnson Atelier, Trenton, New Jersey, 1980
Fleischer Art Memorial, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Teachers and Influences
In addition to studying with Bucks County sculptor, George Antonisen, for two years in the early 1980s, Saunders also studied with MaryLouise Wentzel, a sculptor from the New Hope area.
Connection to Bucks County
Saunders came to the Bucks County area in 1960, and he has been a resident of the New Hope and Solebury township area since then.
Major Solo Exhibitions
Sculpture, Pennswood Village Art Gallery, Newtown, Pennsylvania, 2002
Imagination, Artsbridge Gallery, Stockton, New Jersey, 2001
Select Group Exhibitions
Art Beyond Light: Focus on Art and Vision, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, Pennsylvania, 2007
Art First!, The Medical Center at Princeton, Princeton, New Jersey, 2003
Art Ability, Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, Malvern, Pennsylvania, 2003
Windy Bush Gallery, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1998
Art Among Friends Bicentennial Exhibition, Buckingham Friends School, Buckingham, Pennsylvania, 1995
Bucks County Sculpture Show, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1991, 1993
Four Corners Gallery, Lambertville, New Jersey
Mountain Art Show, St. John on the Mountain, Bernardsville, New Jersey
Philips Mill Annual Art Exhibition, Phillips' Mill Community Association, New Hope, Pennsylvania
Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Howard Gallery, New Hope, Pennsylvania
The Community Service and Veterans Memorial, Triangle Park, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 2008
Sack Race, Central Park, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1998
First Prize in Sculpture, at Art Ability from Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital, Bryn Mawr, PA, 2003
First Prize in Sculpture, at Art Ability from Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital, Bryn Mawr, PA, 2000
Best in Show, Mountain Art Show, Bernardsville, NJ, 1997
Honorable Mention and Most Popular Entry, Mountain Art Show, Bernardsville, NJ, 1993
Sculptures from Americas Pastime were selected for a special exhibition to honor the 50th Anniversary of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, 1989
Third Place, Mountain Art Show, Bernardsville, NJ, 1988
Best in Show, Mountain Art Show, Bernardsville, NJ, 1987