Shima by Martha Pettigrew

Year: 2016
Medium: Bronze
Price: $25,000
Dimensions: 40” H X 46” W X 24” D
Provenance: Kierney, NE

Martha Pettigrew

Martha Pettigrew

Kearney, NE

Located at: Waste Management Corporation

“Shima, with a look of satisfaction as she scratches her ear, makes everyone smile. We all need to smile more.”

First and foremost a horse person, acclaimed Midwest (Nebraska) sculptor Martha Pettigrew has switched things up with her initial entry in this year’s Sculpturewalk. Shima might well be one of her detailed equine studies, conceivably one of the horses she and her husband Delmar raise at various locations throughout the United States. On display here though is a rabbit, albeit a hugely endearing one!

Shima is full of pleasure with a hint of mischief thrown in. Standing four feet tall and oozing contentment, Pettigrew’s lovely bronze rendition is fun and frisky. Head angled skyward as if seeking the warming rays of the sun, Shima sits on her haunches one rear leg scratching an outstretched ear.  The other flops straight down – this is a rabbit that is comfortable, content and at ease. Her eyes are deliberate slits, closed to the sun and the pleasure, the very picture of self-satisfaction. Think Hazel and his band finally settled on Watership Down from Richard Adam’s novel of the same name.

As Pettigrew intimates, “….she makes everyone smile. We all need to smile.” Very true, and she (Pettigrew) has captured that joy/pleasure wonderfully in her entry. Shima’s smile is a wry and docile one that, in turn, makes the observer smile too. There is lovely detail throughout the sculpture. In the floppy ears, legs and head Pettigrew displays nuance bolstered with detail, adding a nice touch of abstraction in Shima’s breast. Here, swirls and whorls permit artistic license and add to the pleasure factor that makes the whole piece work so well. It reminds the viewer that this is an interpretation, one that resounds through the embellishments Pettigrew incorporates.

As important, the balance is exquisite. Even with an ear jutting horizontally, there is harmony and centering that is apparent and obvious.

While all things equine remain her passion, her entry here showcases another side of her imagination, and ability to display the same. Shima might not have the sleek and sinuous lines embodied in Pettigrew’s many horse sculptures but this is her playful, joyful side shining through; numerous other wildlife studies she has done echo Shima. She captures the soul of her subject, whether with full realism or, as here, with loving imagination, whimsy and respect.