Sculpted icons

Anna Campbell Stilt Horses bronze 2018 100(h) x 65(w) x 29(d) cm

 

Inspired by birds and other familiar animals including horses, hares and bulls, Anna Campbell’s work is usually domestic in scale and characterised by her knowledge of form and her skill in rendering colour and pattern. In works including Hen, Campbell has distilled the essence of birds’ shapes into a tactile, rounded form that clearly has its origins in carving. In her majestic Heron, the polished-bronze skull complements the blue-grey patterned surface of the folded wings (Fig 4). On first glance, it is hard to believe that both elements are bronze and that the surface colour is the result of chemicals applied during the patination process. In these works and others, including I Spy – a striking black crow with a golden eye, inspired by the birds that roost at the end of her garden in Co Down – Campbell elevates her subjects to icons and reminds us that in many ancient cultures birds were both worshipped and feared.

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