the ubiquitous chicken has maintained an important and constant
presence in many cultures worldwide. Beyond their role as a
food source and a source of income, these humble and unassuming
birds show up in religion, music, art, and medicine.
spans all aspects of our culture. They are a subject of folklore,
occult mystery, and sometimes comedy. This multi-dimensional
quality, how we see the chicken, is a reflection of ourselves.
The paradox of
the unassuming bird and its role reflecting human characteristics
makes the form particularly well suited to art. These sculptures
combine the important features of the chicken which allows us
to relate and a surface treatment which complements its specific
three dimensional form is a canvas on which the qualities inherent
in the form are defined and extended through the use of paint
After years of
depicting three dimensional objects on a two dimensional canvas,
I found myself wanting a new surface and shape on which to paint.
I found the basic chicken form, with its universal and versatile
qualities, a perfect beginning. To provide a suitable painting
surface and form and still retain the basic elements of the
chicken resulted in a semi- abstracted form.
A combination of
metal, wire, paper, and acrylic compound were used to create
a series of chicken forms. After the basic shape is acquired,
several coats of acrylic compound are applied to the surface.
It is necessary to sand between each coat of compound, the shape
can still be altered minimally at this stage. Three to four
coats of gesso are applied to the surface once the acrylic compound
Each basic form
emerged in its semi-abstracted state with a unique personality.
Each chicken receives a painted surface reflecting the personality
inherent in the body shape and facial form.
Several forms have
been selected as basic canvases. These forms have been cast
in resin to provide a blank canvas on which to paint. The surface
is treated within a range consistent with the personality of
the form. Some of the forms have been treated with bronze and
steel surfaces and allowed to naturally oxidize. Some forms
have been rendered as bronze castings with patina surfaces.
See: cast resin sculptures.
On one level, there
is a pleasing form of the semi-abstracted chicken presented
with its painted surface treatment. The personalities and roles
depicted by the sculptures are human and tell us something about
My quest for a
three dimensional canvas has been an evolutionary process. The
journey has been one of frustration, education, and delight.
My chickens have made me smile and have fed (satisfied) my desire
to sculpt and paint. I hope people will enjoy them as much as
I have enjoyed the process of making them.