Location: Menlo Park, California
Featured Work: Cradle with Bedrock
Source: 2017-2018 CIVA Sourcebook

From curator Michelle Westmark Wingard.
An honorable mention goes to the material sensitivity of Marianne Lettieri’s sculpture.


Describe your featured work.
Cradle with Bedrock is the most recent iteration of an evolving art installation. While the antique wood cradle and 60 blown-glass spheres have remained constant, previous displays included a field of broken glass, a mound of dirt, and a large tree branch on an asphalt school yard surrounded by yellow caution tape. For this version, I covered 250 river stones with delicate lacework. A group of women, ages 14 to 94, gathered at a local community center to crochet a third of the rock covers. The balance were doilies purchased at estate sales, thereby extending the “sewing circle” to include women who were here before us. I have reached an age where there is more time to look back than forward. Through this perspective, I explore the nurturing of dreams and aspirations, the brevity of life, and the temporality of creativity. The spheres are transparent, revealing nothing and everything.



Artist Statement.
I create art with found objects and everyday items that embody, preserve, and challenge social systems and individual identity. I want my work to elicit reflection and conversation around how people move through the world and mark time. As physicality becomes increasingly irrelevant to human activities in the digital age, artifacts once central to daily rituals and work routines become imbued with a sense of humanity that forms bridges to imagination. I present these castoff materials in new configurations, reinforcing the interconnectedness of people and communities through time and the shared human desire to remember.

What are you making now?
During the past decade I’ve worked hard to establish a bit of critical acclaim by pumping out sculptures for exhibitions, building an art practice, and earning a master’s degree. I have now entered into a needed season of artistic exploration and play, working on a smaller, more intimate scale and experimenting with all kinds of mark-making. I’m also keen to finish three series for which I’ve finally accumulated the materials: one merges women’s dress gloves with domestic appliances; another incorporates fanciful bird cages; and the third involves analog wall clocks. These works investigate themes of home and shifts in cultural values.

Why do you belong to CIVA?
CIVA offers the whole package! I’m continually impressed with its vibrant artist community, quality art, rich exploration of the relationship between art and Christian theology, opportunities to exhibit and publish, and commitment to next-generation cultural leaders. Membership in CIVA is central to my development as an artist of faith.

Marianne Lettieri lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where she is an artist, curator, and art instructor. She received the 2017 SVLaureate Award for artistic achievement and contribution to the cultural life of Silicon Valley. She has an MFA in Spatial Arts from San Jose State University and BFA from University of Florida. Her recent solo exhibitions include San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design, Monterey Peninsula College, Peninsula Museum of Art, and Doug Adams Gallery at the Badé Archaeology Museum in Berkeley. She co-wrote with Sandra Bowden the book Seeing the Unseen: Launching and Managing a Church Gallery.