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January 1, 2008

Paradise and Purgatory

Why Does the Cooped Chicken Dance? : Music Box
Stacey M. Holloway
Cast Bronze, Wood, Motors and Mixed Media
2007

This sculpture really captured my attention because it was like seeing a dollhouse sized barn in a corner of Wilson library. The tag on the wall invited me to open the coop door and when I did, a scene out of a picture book! A bronze chicken ballerina wearing a lacey tutu was doing pirouettes in the middle of the coop in front of a beveled beribboned oval mirror on the wall, with a naked light bulb lamp as a spotlight. And it was a music box. Classic with its girly ballerina theme and the melody was, I believe, You Are My Sunshine. I think most women recall having a music box as a young girl. I actually had one that was shaped like a piano and the ballerina inside spun to the music of Swan Lake….
The artist states that she uses “humor? to create a “portrait? from past experiences, while inviting the audience to participate in the piece with “points of entry?. She is very successful in drawing the viewer in by first piquing curiosity with a closed door. And who does not want to know what is behind a closed door? The details and craftsmanship in the work is very impressive. The wood and corrugated metal roof has a weathered rusted look. I love the authentic detail such as the hay inside and the shelves and the floorboards that remind me of a stage or a dance studio. The stand is built to match the coop and brings the piece closer to eye level. It’s like being invited to play with a dollhouse.
The chicken at first seems full of playfulness and gaiety, but actually it’s quite lonesome and the scene has a melancholy mood. It is all alone, “cooped? up in the chicken coop, dancing all alone. Animals are easier to interpret I think, for many people than other humans, at least for me…
I actually could have watched the chicken spin around and around for a long time, but being that I was in a library and it’s very “Quiet Please!? in there, I turned the music off after a while, as to not disturb the other people trying to study in the library…