Radells Collaborate on Statue
Article from Mercy College (Detroit Michigan) alumni
newsletter, Summer 1988
Reprinted by permission
He paces the floor of his studio in Marian Hall, eyes darting, hands
jabbing the air, spitting out words staccato-style. He is a study in
constant motion, agitation, at times, irritation.
She sits to the side, quiet, composed, finishing some of his sentences,
softening his harder statements, the hint of a smile flickering across her
Lloyd and Renee Radell.
Two halves of a whole.
They have been together a very long time; there is a shared history
between them, a mutual understanding, a deep friendship.
They met at the Center for Creative Studies, married, built a home in
Lake Orion and raised five children there.
For years they taught together at Mercy, although those days are long
over. Lloyd Radell remains as professor of art at the College, but
Renee has moved on to the Parsons School of Design in New York
Yet they still work together he the sculptor, she the painter
bringing a mutual artistic vision to their commissioned works.
Earlier this year, when the Mecosta County Council for the Arts
searched for a Michigan artist to sculpt a statue of feminist Anna
Howard Shaw, its search ended with the Radells. An appropriate
choice, because throughout the draining years of tending home and
rearing children, both Radells have pursued their art, sometimes
working together, sometimes apart, but always supporting each other's
efforts, nurturing each other's talents, in awe of each other's gifts.
"We were invited to compete [for the $50,000-commission statue]
based on our credentials," says Lloyd Radell. "We submitted resumes
and photographs of other works we had done. They liked our style."
The statue of Shaw is a collaborative effort of the Radells.
"Renee is a figurative painter and I am a figurative sculptor," said
Radell. "We have comparable professional insights, and we try to
reach one artistic conscience in our work. That's what makes it unique,
because this project is truly a joint effort not a struggle to impose a
point of view by either of us," he continues.
"We never compromise. We simply work out any problems until we
both feel good about it. We have total respect for each other's insights,
talents and skills. I think that's exactly right for the statue of a feminist,"
After the Radells were awarded the commission, they were asked to
submit a maquette (a small, preliminary clay model of the statue) to the
council members. Renee did sketches some life-sized and from
that the maquette was formed.
A resident of Mecosta County as a child, Anna Howard Shaw was a
"handsome, remarkable woman, and we wanted to capture her
energy, enthusiasm, dedication to high principles," says Radell. After
the maquette was approved by council members, the Radells began
work on the 6-foot clay statue in his studio at Mercy. Lloyd
constructed the armature (or skeleton) of the statue, and both
contributed to the anatomy, proportion and form of the finished figure.
Following completion, molds were made of the work, from which the
final bronze statue is being cast this summer.
The Radells expect their work to be unveiled in a park adjacent to the
Big Rapids Community Library in October.
Editor's note: The statue is now located next to the library.