James Rivington Pyne is a Mainer. Maybe not born and raised, but he certainly has done his time. He is a life-long summer resident who just couldn’t stay away. In 1983, he moved here permanently, and now is happy to call it home. There is just something about this state that captures a heart and soul and refuses to let go.
“Riv” feels the same way about the subject of many of his sculptures, birds. “I could be cynical enough to say my love of birds began when they started making money for me,” Pyne says with a smile. “But before that–in fact when I was 15 or so–I came to the realization that birds, even condors, turkeys, and vultures, are the most beautiful creatures on this earth.”
Pyne’s sculptures, especially his birds, have a unique and interesting feel, both literally and figuratively. The use of mixed media and composite gives a rough and real texture to the pieces he creates. The wings of his birds are life-like and natural, encouraging the admirer to reach out and touch them. “In the spring when the sap is running, I put split-in -half poplar logs into a vice, chisel a couple of inches into the wood, get my hand around the cut piece and rip it off the far end of the log. The results are bird wings, fish fins, and a number of other things,” explains Pyne. This technique is seen in the tail feathers of this Pair of Whimbrels.
Figuratively,his work captures a personality that may normally not come through in the physical characteristics of his subjects. “My work is stylized, but the subject is never unrecognizable,” says Pyne. “I find that the best way to express a bird’s edginess on a limb or briskness in flight is by rough, almost blurred outlines, similar to a sketch, rather than smooth finishes.” Even his bronze work has a texture that catches the eye and the imagination. The surface of the Bronze Greyhound has a dimension which not only captures his character, it makes him real.
Recently, Riv delivered a wonderful sculpture of a flock of Kingfishers. They are crafted with care and detail, and urge the viewer to move closer to take them all in. The title of this piece is Set of 8 Kingfishers. What makes it curious? There are only seven. “I’m assuming the eighth one is in flight,” says Natalie Lane, the gallery manager. Maybe that is what they are all looking at. This piece is only five inches tall, but they are perched on a platform that is almost two feet wide. There is a window sill out there that is just perfect for this work.
Pyne has been a part of Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture since 2012, and we have quite an extensive collection of his work. This new work has such personality and charm, it truly is meant to be seen in person. Of course, his work is also available to view online by visiting his Artist Page.
To read more blogs about Pyne and his work with Maine Art Click Here.