Friday, October 10, 2008
"PAYWINDOW" by BOB SCRIVER
This Bob Scriver bronze is part of his rodeo series which consists of one dynamic and romantically executed portrait of each event, plus a more classically (detailed) portrait of the animal in question, but at rest -- simply standing. The animals are the key.
in this piece the composition and challenges of bronze-casting are relevant. This “design” is an explosion, which Scriver often uses in action pieces -- diagonal arcs fly out from a center. The technical challenge is the small base of metal (one horse leg) holding up a large body, meaning the body must be hollow and thin, while the leg itself is solid and of high-quality bronze with no honeycombing or bubbles. This can be tested by sharply rapping and listening for the sound.
“Paywindow” -- which means a bucking horse so vigorous that the rider is bound to score high if he can stay on -- portrays bareback riding, which is done on a horse with no saddle but a cinch around its flanks to make it buck. The cinch is padded with sheepskin but nevertheless is a matter of worry to humane society members. Other than that, the horse wears a halter -- no bit -- and the rider has only a handhold to keep him on -- no saddle. The two parallel “rough-stock” events are saddle bronc riding, and bull-riding where the bull has the added aggravation of clanking cowbells hung on the cinch around its flanks. Aside from being huge and snaky, bulls are considered harder and more dangerous to ride because they will attack the rider once he’s on the ground. Horses occasionally do the same thing, with front feet since they have no horns. On the other hand, many bulls and horses become accustomed to “show biz” and are quite mellow when not in the arena.
This particular photograph is excellent and shows the varied green patina that Scriver worked hard to achieve, using as a model a Barye casting made in Paris It also reveals the balletic quality of the two partners in the event.
For more detail, consult Scriver’s self-published book, “An Honest Try.” The book shows each piece in black and white against a rodeo setting.