Born 1953 Oklahoma City, OK
Lives and works in New York, NY
Petah Coyne derives her inspiration from a range of sources, including literature, film, theology, and art history and personal memory. Her elaborate installations involve an ever-changing array of unorthodox materials, from human hair to religious statuary. Coyne began incorporating taxidermy into her work during the mid-1990s. Birds specimens, in particular, can be found in many of Coyne’s recent sculptures, representing themes of life and death, remembrance and renewal.
Petah Coyne, Untitled #1180 (Beatrice), 2003–2008, cast-wax statuary, taxidermy animals, taxidermy birds, silk flowers, silk/rayon velvet, specially formulated wax, felt, tree branches, tree bark, driftwood, cable, cable nuts, acrylic paint, black spray paint, chicken wire, metal hardware, pearl-headed hat pins, pigment, thread, wire, plywood, wood, and vinyl, 136 x 109 x 121 in., Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Lelong, New York, © Petah Coyne. Image courtesy of the artist and Galerie Lelong, New York. Photo by Wit McKay
Beatrice is part of a series of dramatic black sculptures inspired by Dante Alighieri’s epic poem, The Divine Comedy. The narrative traces Dante’s allegorical journey from hell to purgatory and finally to heaven. Beatrice Portinari was a Florentine woman who served as the author’s muse and his fictional guide through paradise. Coyne’s sculpture depicts Beatrice as a towering woman draped in purple and black velvet and adorned with blooms and branches. The swirling birds may symbolize her role as an escort to heaven or as a mediator between humanity (Dante) and the spiritual world.
Petah Coyne, Untitled #1375 (No Reason Except Love), 2011–2012, taxidermy birds, taxidermy white peacocks, taxidermy squirrel, chandelier, chicken wire, silk flowers, specially formulated wax, black spray paint, pearl-headed pins, wire, quick-link shackles, cable, cable nuts, 3/8" proof coil chain, jaw-to-jaw swivel, silk/rayon velvet, thread, ribbon, plastic, Velcro, silk/rayon ribbon, black sand from pig iron casting, resin, and candles, 81 x 71 x 66 1/2 in., Collection of Alexandre Taillefer and Debbie Zakaib. Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York, © Petah Coyne. Image courtesy of Galerie Lelong, New York. Photo by Christopher Burke Studio