Assemblage - Untitled #857 | Artopia

Petah Coyne

A Closer Look

Untitled #857 is heavily textured. The ribbons covered with wax and little white birds make the work look like a lighted chandelier hanging from the ceiling. How does this piece make you feel? Notice how the light cast on the work makes it glow with a variety of values just like you would achieve if you drew it with a pencil. Find an old, discarded piece of material. Rip it or cut it up in a lot of strips. Tie the strips together and try to arrange them in a shape like Untitled #857.

About the Sculpture

Petah Coyne makes sculptures out of things she finds. Untitled #857 contains steel, artificial birds, tassels, chicken wire and wax. It hangs from the ceiling and weighs 200 pounds. Coyne has dripped many layers of a special kind of wax all over the artwork. She takes a long time to make her sculptures and she feels close to them. She calls them her "girls." "When I see them in museums...I think they recognize me," she says. "I think they're happy to see me. I'm certainly happy to see them."

About the Artist

When Petah Coyne was growing up she lived in Hawaii and all of her neighbors and classmates were Japanese – she even thought she was Japanese herself. She considered herself an artist from a very young age and had a lot of support from her mother. Coyne's mother home-schooled her during the summers so she could spend the school year working on art. She even took Coyne to a foundry to learn how to cast bronze.


Write About It

  • Make a list of what you see.
  • How did the artist use the elements and principles of design?
  • What do you think the sculpture means? How does it make you feel?
  • Select two sculptures to compare & contrast.