Pam McCowan

Gargoyles / Grotesques

These pieces are inspired by actual historical examples from medieval European churches, and from their current appearances on modern buildings.
Gargoyles were once meant to project the power of the church over the masses by their fearsome, distorted and disturbing images on the exterior walls. They faced outwards to confront all the approaching evils of a complicated world, so that once inside, the church became a place of sanctity and safety, conveyed by its awesome beauty in sight and sound.

Some gargoyles were merely decorative, or designed to disgorge rainwater through their open mouths, a further enhancement of their nastiness. But mainly they embodied, in an animated accusing style, that which infects or weakens our character.

Today, gargoyles are referred to as grotesques. We relate to them in a much more lighthearted way. They play an entirely different role and evoke a different appreciation as interesting historical icons.
The pieces are made of fired clay and have been surface treated to enable them to be placed outside. It would be wise to bring them indoors in the winter. Size: 4″ x 4″ to 8″ x 8″

Figures and Faces

A natural extension of mask making is to render the full body, and its language. Modeling the human body is an exact science in many ways and if you want the viewer to accept a figurative sculpture, you need to achieve some level of familiarity. But it’s a rare event when you can say you’ve rendered the form perfectly. I’m pretty sure I never will; I hope instead that an instance of human animation comes across. Each of my figures is meant to express an attitude or inner life. Sometimes the figure is engaged with their own thoughts, or the figure’s attention is on something external. In either case, I want my sculptures to represent us, not the classical ideal.

The pieces often are posed on a stone or a piece of wood. Some have been sold in pairs and some as bookends. Their sizes range from 8 inches to 2 feet in height and are made of fired clay, coloured and sprayed with a clear acrylic coating.. For some I have made molds and cast a series of 6 or 8 in plaster, or winterstone.