Crow #5 – 1995
I began to feed the crows in a grocery store parking lot with old bread from the store, the birds very close and very active, and I became fascinated with the incredible complexity of their abilities to move and the exaggerated contortions of their bodies as they interacted. During these feedings I often drew and then photographed, shooting randomly into the masses of birds. From these drawings and photographs I produced a large number of dry points. Of these I chose nine and editions of 30 prints titled Stances I - IX were produced. The first 15 prints of each were collated into suites.
The prints were to be an end in themselves. However, it was difficult to engender the incredibly flexible and plastic nature of the birds' forms that I had perceived at very close quarters. I kept coming back to the loose drawings and photographs, eventually deciding to produce a suite of nine bird forms in three dimensions and attempt to deal with the plastic nature of the crow's movement. I chose clay to work with because of all materials, its nature might best mimic the plasticity I had seen. The approach was very abstract and loose. I produced forms and gestures and the idea of the specific details of the animals became secondary to the process of forming. I looked upon them as moving chunks of clay. I became caught in the process of that forming and the pieces became more fluid and easy to make. As a result of the gestural approach, some were left in states of incompletion, some with gaping rough holes, some ripped apart. Some were opened up revealing hearts and interior visceral exposures. One of the crows I observed during feeding had a number of pin feathers which were devoid of the feather and this animal fascinated me. To deal with what I had seen I used pieces of reindeer antlers as part of the forms. As with the prints, from many I chose nine pieces to cast in bronze. There is nothing symbolic about that number for me. It came to be because that was what I started with.
Artist: Frank Boyden (website)
Location: Fifth floor, #110 on the map