Sculptor Rikki Morley Saunders was raised in upstate New York where she was immersed in nature, architecture, art and the sporting life. Rikki’s father taught her to draw, paint and carve in wood and to sit quietly in nature observing the characteristics of wild creatures.
Living in California, her fascination with art and architecture continued when she fell in love with the Art Nouveau style. It’s fluidity and elegant depiction of the natural world resonated with her enough to begin a collection that later directly connected to her sculptures. Surrounding herself with Art Nouveau later provided inspirational examples of natural beauty in both utilitarian pieces as well as fine art.
Rikki’s love of nature follows through to her accomplished equestrian career. Riding competitions in Europe allowed her to study great art and architecture and created the basis for future inspiration. The parallels between athletes and artists are one in the same. Both require focus, discipline, presence and ignite joy in their total immersion.
After Europe she settled in Southeast Pennsylvania and studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. There Saunders discovered her calling, sculpture. She turned back to her early days of woodcarving and then transitioned to sculpting in bronze.
In 1997, an unwarranted four-lane road expansion was proposed in Saunders’ community, threatening sprawling development resulting in the loss of prime agricultural soils and farmland, and the degradation of water and air quality. Rikki’s passion for the natural world and her characteristic intensity propelled her to temporarily abandon her artistic career and create S.A.V.E., Safety Agriculture Villages Environment, a non-profit organization whose mission is to save important natural resources for future generations. Only after ensuring the continuing success of this organization did she return her focus to art.
Saunders names her father as a huge influence on her life and work: one characterized by dedication, focus, and a fierce conviction that life itself is a form of art.
Rikki Morley Saunders’ has exhibited at the Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY, the National Sculpture Society, Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, SC, and the Philadelphia Show, presented by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where her sculpture was selected for Martha Stewart’s curated collection. Her work is also included in many prestigious private collections across the United States and Europe. Saunders is a Fellow of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and an active member of the National Sculpture Society, the Society of Animal Artists, California Art Club, and the Audubon Society.