Right now, I am making a pheasant. It begins with polystyrene and plaster, then ends up in bronze. It will be an expensive pheasant.
Someone asked me yesterday why I just did not buy a stuffed pheasant and cover it in plaster. I did not bother to give the answer they should have eventually worked out for themselves, so I just said, "That - in the sculptural world - is what is known as 'cheating'."
When I make these birds and animals, I am brought to a sensibility of how far I have come in understanding their lives and the way they conduct them. It is not just a case of how they are physically put together - I have taken many pheasants apart after death, and that experience has provided very little which is useful in sculpture, despite Stubbs hacking whole horses apart before he painted them.
They have to be anatomically correct to a certain extent, but not just clinical illustrations of muscle structure beneath the fur and feathers. This is the explanation which I could not be bothered to give the person who asked the silly question, and you can see why.
My pheasant is unaware of my fox which is looking down on him from above as he creeps up. The two work as a pair in sculptural terms. This means that the tail feathers must be low to the ground, and not up in a cocky display of masculinity. The person who suggested that I entomb a real pheasant in plaster also suggested that I have the feathers up. He was obviously not thinking too hard about the whole thing.
Neither was George Segal when he made those plaster figures. They once suspected him of murder and broke open a cast of a human figure to see what was inside. Just imagine - the perfect crime. You kill someone, turn them into a sculpture, then get paid a lot of money for allowing the general public to come and view your victim up close.
Ophelia Part II - 8 am this morning the tree surgeons arrived. 10 am bough down, logs in a neat pile and a whole heap of tree bark for my garden. All for little more th...
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