Petah Coyne derives inspiration from myriad sources, such as literature, film, theology, art history, and her personal memories. Her sculptural practice and the resulting elaborate installations comprise unconventional materials, which include candles, ribbons, hair, artificial flowers, taxidermy birds, and Catholic statuary. The artist’s haunting and decadent imagery evokes themes of innocence and seduction, beauty and grotesque, natural and unnatural, and life and death. Her work also serves as a visual record of the passage of time. A heavy, almost impasto-like, buildup of wax records Coyne’s slow, methodical creative process. Untitled #1373 (Ms. Redstockings: Notes to Women Sculptors in One Hundred Years) was conceived as a kind of time capsule; messages to future women artists are hidden within the mysterious landscape of flowers that have been dipped and embedded in wax. Copies of these testaments to female artists of the past, present, and future can be read in the book that accompanies the sculpture.
Label from For the Love of Things: Still Life, February 27–May 29, 2016