This bond is also present in First Prayer (1996), a Madonna and child in which a mother cradles a toddler. The sculpture is low to the ground, and you must scrunch up under it to see the mother's expression from the child's perspective, something you likely haven't done in a very long time. The expressions on Gambaro's faces are fantastic, many with closed eyes and mouths, somehow both knowing and expectant.

Lost-wax bronze sculpture is intensely physical and arduous work — for an artist of any age. The complicated multi-step process may be lost on some viewers who see Gambaro's shapes as almost boulder-like in their simplicity. The ideas that her works convey, though, are not so simple. But it is just flat-out nice to think about the "gentle nature of the human spirit," as well as qualities like courage and connectedness.

Gambaro, whose work has been displayed prestigiously in the likes of the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History and the Kennedy Center, seems to have learned to express something spiritually universal just as she prepares for that most physically universal of equalizers.

Harvest by Retha Walden Gambaro is on display in the Heard Museum's Nichols Sculpture Garden.
Courtesy of the Heard Museum
Harvest by Retha Walden Gambaro is on display in the Heard Museum's Nichols Sculpture Garden.
Harvest by Retha Walden Gambaro is on display in the Heard Museum's Nichols Sculpture Garden.
Courtesy of Heard Museum
Harvest by Retha Walden Gambaro is on display in the Heard Museum's Nichols Sculpture Garden.

Location Info

Map

Heard Museum

2301 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Category: Museums

Region: Central Phoenix

Details

"Attitudes of Prayer: A Universal Expression of Human Emotion"Sculptures by Retha Walden Gambaro are on display in the Nichols Sculpture Garden
at the Heard Museum,
2301 N. Central Ave.,
through May 13, 2012.
Visit www.heard.com.

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Don't rush through an exhibit that's meant to evoke contemplation and meditation, even if a guide is trying to usher you out of the scorch zone. A winter visit for the faint of summer-heat heart can be in the cards, because Retha Walden Gambaro's bronzes will cook under our Arizona sun for more than a year. The exhibit may, sadly, even outlast the artist herself. Gambaro took her time, and so should we.

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4 comments
gillbates
gillbates

ok, looking back maybe I was projecting.Still, I want to visit and linger to take in what is there.

Maw7654
Maw7654

"Late" on a Friday night I finally have been able to take a gander at the new times. I came across your review and as I usually read everything from cover to cover I read your article.

Since I've had a few beers my emotions are closer to the surface than normal. As I read your review I experienced fairly strong emotions. Most of them were centered on how it sounded like you were horny when you visited and wrote about it since there were so many what I see as subtle acknowledgements of the beauty of the female form. I thought the horniness was strange and unusual and thought you were wacko not that there is anything wrong with being horny. It's just a bit unusual to run across it in a review of art. I continued reading even as I thought of skipping to the end of your piece, I guess the eroticism was dying down. Continuing, I proceeded to plow through my emotions and your writing and at the end decided that your piece was a work of art in itself. As I read I was captured, taken on an emotional journey, learned a bit and most importantly I was left with a must do of checking out the subject.

I still think you're looking at the art through horny eyes but I haven't been there or done that.

Your writing is incredible. Thanks for sharing.

gillbates

Haliski
Haliski

One of your photos is misidentified as "Harvest". It is actually "Acceptance." But, I do like your article about this exhibit and feel the same way as you - that it deserves more than a quick look. After viewing the pieces, I felt the garden was a great place to meditate, both on the pieces and on my life.

 
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