Kentucky Art Speaks

Artist: Present & Past

In Artist: Present & Past on January 14, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Untitled # 1336 (Scalapino Nu Shu), 2009–10 Apple tree, taxidermy Black Melinistic Pheasants, taxidermy Blue India Peacocks, taxidermy Black-Shouldered Peacocks, taxidermy Spaulding Peacocks, black sand from pig iron casting, Acrylex 234, black paint, cement, chicken wire fencing, wood, gravel, sisal, staging rope, cotton rope, insulated foam sealant, pipe, epoxy, threaded rod, wire, screws, jaw-to-jaw swivels 158 x 264 x 288 inches (401.3 x 670.6 x 731.5 cm)

Untitled #1287 (Tati), 2009 Taxidermy Canadian Goose, silk flowers, specially formulated wax, pearl-headed hat pins, pigment, tassels, silk/rayon velvet, thread, plywood, chicken wire fencing, quick-link shackles, cable, metal hardware 55 x 42 1/2 x 19 inches (139.8 x 108 x 48.2 cm)

Untitled #1240 (Black Cloud), 2007–08 Taxidermy birds, silk flowers, silk/rayon velvet, plaster statuary, feathers, specially formulated wax, cable, cable nuts, acrylic paint, black spray paint, plaster, chicken wire fencing, metal hardware, felt, pearl-headed hat pins, pigment, thread, wire, plywood, wood, threaded rod, jaw to jaw swivel 74 x 104 x 174 inches (188 x 264.2 x 442 cm)

Untitled #1274 (Death in Venice), 2003–08 Velvet hand-sewn over chandelier, ripped silk organza, hand painted silk flowers with wax, wire, silk/rayon velvet, cable, cable nuts, Velcro, thread, chain, quick-link shackles, jaw to jaw swivel 50 x 33 x 31 inches (127 x 83.8 x 78.8 cm) In background: Untitled #1262 (Late Spring), 2007-08


Petah Coyne is an American sculptor and photographer. The above works are from her recent show at MASS MoCA, titled “Petah Coyne: Everything That Rises Must Converge.” Here’s more information from the exhibit brochure about her recent work:

“This exhibition borrows its title from a short story written in 1963 by Flannery O’Connor (1925–1964). O’Connor’s writing, like the sculpture of Petah Coyne, takes dark turns while simultaneously referencing themes of human weakness, morality and redemption.

The works in this largest retrospective of the artist’s work to date range from her earlier and more abstract sculptures using industrial materials to newer works made of delicate wax. All of Coyne’s works take inspiration from personal stories, film, literature and political events. Coyne takes these sources and applies a Baroque sense of decadent refinement, imbuing her work with a magical quality to evoke intensely personal associations.

Together these diverse yet intimately connected periods of Coyne’s practice make evident an evolution, which highlights the artist’s own blend of symbolism alongside an innovative use of materials including black sand, car parts, wax, satin ribbons, trees, silk flowers, and taxidermy.

Coyne’s works both rise and converge at MASS MoCA, making palpable the inherent tensions between vulnerability and aggression, innocence and seduc- tion, beauty and decadence, and, ultimately, life and death.”


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