The pieces pictured here are two well known works by Beatrice Wood. The First is titled Copper Red Rooster and was built in 1960. The second piece is Bride and Groom. This piece stands 27 inches tall. I chose these two pieces as influence for my semesters’ art history inspiration. The rooster is a wonderful example of Beato’s “primitive” style. The work is direct and whimsical, employing simple hand building techniques to create an over all style of charming simplicity. The surface is one of the luster glazes she was so well known for. The effect is a naive sophistication, from the simplicity of the making to the complexity and technicality of the glaze. The second piece is a larger work for Wood and depicts a common subject, that of men and women. Here she shows a young couple in love. The figures stand close to each other, touching heads. The bride stands partially obscured by her veil, the groom partially hidden by his bride. The tight composition conveys a unity of form and intention and gives the viewer a glimpse of intimacy. The eyes however are distant and the mouths are flat. Perhaps there is more to the work than the first read suggests. The piece then becomes enigmatic and engages beyond a hallmark moment into the real complexity of relationships between people, especially in matters of love.
For my response to these works I combined the idea and color of the rooster with the eternal theme of the couple. The work titled Roosters in Love depicts a pair of roosters. More realism is employed in the sculpting of the head than in the original but the relationship is obvious. The roosters are a folksy traditional kitchen object that would have worked well in my grandmother’s house. Without having the title or a discussion with the artist, my comment about queerness would be totally missed, just as a quick read of the bride and groom might mislead.
Here the rooster lean in but do not touch, keeping a polite distance in the house of their possibly conservative hosts. The surface is Wood inspired but is not the luster she was so well known for. Rather the color served as inspiration for the entire project. My solution was to use low fire commercial glazes.