René Martucci received her bachelor of arts degree from the University of California, Davis where she studied with Robert Arneson, Manual Neri and Wayne Thiebaud. Working under the guidance of Robert Arneson, Martucci developed solid craftsmanship and a desire to explore and challenge herself as an artist. While a student, she sculpted at the ceramics lab TB-9 – noted for it’s influence on ceramic art. There, Martucci spent many hours sharing ideas with other talented students including Lisa Reinertson, Arthur Gonzalez and Tony Natsoulas. One of her most exciting projects is Martucci’s work with renowned feminist artist Judy Chicago. Martucci sculpted eight cat portraits from Chicago’s book Kitty City: A Feline Book of Hours. The collaboration took place over a six month period during which time Chicago often came to work in Martucci’s Davis studio. Judy Chicago china painted the final sculptures. In October 2005, Martucci attended the unveiling at the prestigious Sculptural Objects and Functional Art exhibit in Chicago.
“Investigating the ordinary is the pervasive theme in my work. I enlist these accessible images as I look to define universal experiences. In using common place themes, I seek a vernacular to express my personal meanings and my interest in shared stories.
My sculpture process involves building up coils and slabs and shaping by hand. The sculptures are hollow like a pot inside. The columns are made to look like stacks, though most pieces are connected. Once bisque fired, I add a wash of glaze and sponge off so that the texture is emphasized. I continue to layer on pigments and glazes then fire to cone 5. The sculptures can be installed outdoors in temperate zones.”
Martucci has devoted over two decades to sculpting lifelike human and animal figures and has received wide attention for her work. One of the enjoyable aspects of her works is their ability to be displayed indoors or outside. Among the many outdoor installations of her work, two of her sculptures stand at the entrance of the famous Staglin Vineyard and Winery in Napa winery noted for it’s fine art collection.
Martucci works on her personal sculptures as well as private commissions, public art projects and art education. She has lead a number of community projects with elementary school children, combining art education with social studies curriculum to create public art.