Untitled #750 (Bird Wedding Cake)
Petah Coyne’s early work incorporated decaying materials—fish, logs, roots, and hay—into sculptures that plumbed extremes of fantasy and the macabre, interiors and the outdoors, joy and alienation. By 1993, Coyne adapted her materials to ensure her work’s longevity and to draw from her family’s Irish Catholic traditions, as reflected in the artificial flowers and birds, white satin, and up to 150 layers of candle wax in Untitled #750 (Bird Wedding Cake). Seemingly fragile in its creation and hanging display, the work is weighted by its materials and metaphors, which allude to the deceptive fantasies of femininity and marriage seen from the vantage point of white American girlhood.
Wax, wire mesh, steel, metal chain, artificial flowers (silk?), artificial
birds, white fabric (satin?)
overall: 38 x 32 x 32 in., 260 lb. (96.5 x 81.3 x 81.3 cm, 117.9kg) (show scale)
Gift of the Rothfeld Family Collection in memory of Harriet Weill Rothfeld and Designated Purchase Fund
This item is not on view
Petah Coyne (American, born 1953). Untitled #750 (Bird Wedding Cake), 1993. Wax, wire mesh, steel, metal chain, artificial flowers (silk?), artificial
birds, white fabric (satin?), overall: 38 x 32 x 32 in., 260 lb. (96.5 x 81.3 x 81.3 cm, 117.9kg). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Rothfeld Family Collection in memory of Harriet Weill Rothfeld and Designated Purchase Fund, 2008.17.2. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Image courtesy of the donor, CUR.2008.17.2_donor_photograph.jpg)
. Image courtesy of the donor
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© Petah Coyne, Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York
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Tell me more.
Petah Coyne self identifies as a "lapsed Catholic." Her work explores her complicated relationship to beauty, femininity and death.
When she first moved to NYC, she worked with terminally ill patients, used taxidermied birds in her creations and even dead fish on occasion.
Tell me more.
This is an example of the wax sculptures Coyne was working on between 1990 and 2004.
Coyne says that she forces herself to "change continuously. I always have to invent a new language."