Arts & Culture

Gig Harbor sculptor Mardie Rees wins Marine Corps Heritage Foundation award

Mardie Rees and Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Joseph Ostermann stand next to Rees’ award-winning sculpture “Soul of the Forward and Faithful.”
Mardie Rees and Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Joseph Ostermann stand next to Rees’ award-winning sculpture “Soul of the Forward and Faithful.”

Gig Harbor sculptor Mardie Rees has won the Col. John W. Thomason Jr. Award from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation for her figurative work “Soul of the Forward and Faithful.” Displayed at Tacoma Art Museum in 2014, then moved to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia, the sculpture is now at the Pentagon and was recognized in a recent ceremony for its depiction of Marine Corps life.

It’s the third award Rees has won for the sculpture.

“It is such an honor to be recognized for something that I created,” said Rees in a press release. “This artwork is for the Marines. It’s a way of remembering the sacrifices of our fathers and grandfathers who fought in World War II.”

The sculpture portrays a Marine Raider carrying a Browning Automatic rifle, a dog handler with a German shepherd and a Navajo code talker, poised for action in front of a jungle backdrop. Commissioned by the U.S. Marine Raider Foundation, the 4-foot by 3-foot work took Rees two years to create in her Gig Harbor studio, from making sketches of live Marine veteran models to making forms and having the bronze casted. The work was also displayed at the San Diego Air and Space Museum. It recently moved to the office of Marine Corps commandant Gen. Robert Neller.

“Figure sculpture truly is a universal language,” said Rees.

More information on Rees is available at mardierees.com.

Rosemary Ponnekanti: 253-597-8568, @rose_ponnekanti

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