Look closely enough at the sculptures that sprout from the shelves in her studio, and you will see parts of Marie David.
"When I was young and starting out," says the 46-year-old Cottonwood Center for the Arts member, "I totally denied that it had anything [to do with me personally], but my work is very personal; it's all about my relationships or feelings and how I'm feeling at a particular time."
Many of David's pieces share a common theme of feminine sexuality, and often combine a graceful, partially nude woman with strategically placed flowers in full blossom.
"Some people come in and look at it and they feel embarrassed and they don't want to ask questions," she says, "and sometimes people come in, men and women, and just love what it is saying. And I don't try and define that for people."
David created her latest piece, "Fear No Evil," specifically for Cottonwood's upcoming Día de los Muertos show, juried by longtime Springs artist Rodney Wood, who now lives in Santa Fe, N.M. The Mexican holiday (Nov. 1-2), familiar to gringos because of its iconic skeleton-dominant art, honors the memories of deceased loved ones.
Challenged by Cottonwood curator Tish Lacy Reed to "go outside [her] normal box," David created a piece that eschews the individual-woman theme. Instead, in "Fear No Evil," the archangel Michael stands with his arm protectively drawn around a fallen man, as two women help lift him up. At their feet, a lizard-like demon attempts to drag the man down. The sculpture sits atop a box with an ankh — the Egyptian hieroglyph for eternal life — on each side, and Psalm 23 inscribed on the front.
David's very personal take on the several-thousand-year-old tradition pays homage to her brother's struggle with, and victory over, the temptation of suicide, as he suffered through the cirrhosis that would eventually kill him. When completed, the therapeutic artwork will hold his ashes.
"He was a very beautiful, strong, intelligent man, and his struggle really had some difficult effects on his wife and children ... I know it was important to him to share that message of hope," she says.