Berrien's wire giraffes have a special realism. Her two-year
artist-in-residency at Marine World/Africa USA gave her everyday access
to a herd of reticuated giraffes. "Giraffes are almost as challenging
as elephants - the consist almost entirely of angles. I have to find
and incorporate all the essential lines and angles, and still convey
the intuitive sense of 'this is Giraffe'".
Giraffe #1, 1983, Berrien's
first large-scale aluminum sculpture. Hand-twisting aluminum rods is a
tricky process, because each line must be locked precisely in place.
"There is often no option for changing one's mind - you have to get it
right the first time".
Even when twisting heavy aluminum rods, Berrien uses just her bare
hands and a pair of wire cutters - "no gloves, no pliers, no chicken
Giraffe, in landscape with
African Elephant calf. Silvery wire sculptures look wonderful set
against masses of dark shrubbery. This Elephant Calf was created at
Marine World/Africa USA too - modeled after their newly arrived Misha.
Elizabeth Berrien is careful when working with heavy wire - "the pads
of my thumbs and fingers are pressed between metal and bone. I have to
tune that out, persuade myself the wire is made out of butter -
at Hayward City Hall
Artists are prone to getting critical of early works. In Elizabeth's
words: "Twenty-five years later, I kept looking at Silvery Giraffe and
saying, "with what I know now, I could go in and do surgery to sharpen
this, modify that, and it'd look even more
like a true giraffe. Instead, I challenged myself to make a new, 14-ft
galloping Giraffe, with as high a difficulty factor as possible."
at Morris Graves Museum of Art. Red Giraffe and Silvery Giraffe have
been in several museums, and were included in Elizabeth Berrien's
traveling exhibit of wire sculpture.
Giraffe Small sculptures for the
office and home help bring a sense of connectedness between humans and
for quotes on life-size works.
Class Wire Sculpture
· Elizabeth Berrien (707) 362-2771 · email wireladyE@yahoo.com
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