While Shane began his career as an enlarger at a fine art foundry, we both decided early that we would focus our modeling skills on our gallery and commission work. That continued for nearly twenty years, when we got the opportunity of a lifetime: modeling a twice-life-size horse skeleton for conceptual artist Hans Haacke. Based on the beautiful George Stubbs anatomical etchings of the horse, Haacke's Gift Horse design had been selected as a finalist for the prestigious Fourth Plinth, the public art competition that places monumental-scale sculpture on the otherwise empty granite plinth in front of London's National Gallery.
We started by making the maquette, the one-tenth scale model, that would be submitted for award judging. We modeled the skeleton in wax, made molds on the sections for editioning purposes, then cast and finished the jewelry-like maquette in bronze.
When Haacke received the award, the Paula Cooper Gallery contracted us to model the fourteen-foot skeleton. Work began by welding and fabricating the steel armatures. Working from an actual articulated skeleton, we modeled the skeleton in sections that were later assembled in bronze. As each section was completed, rubber molds were made, and bronze casting began, helping to make the one-year time frame for this monumental-scale work possible. The enlarging, modeling and mold making was completed in less than six months. Gift Horse was unveiled in Trafalgar Square on March 5th, 2015.
Our modeling studio is housed in a dedicated building of 11,000 square feet, supported by a fully equipped metal fabrication shop for armatures of any scale, and 4800 pounds of fine french water clay. We model in water clay, plasticine, wax and plaster.