There is a unique reaction when looking at a Chris Deverill sculpture. Audiences connect almost immediately to the mood of the piece, but at the same time one quickly recognizes the subtle details in the subject itself that deviate from reality. Extended limbs, or expressions not common to the animal in question are common.
However, rather than the effect of distancing the sculpted animals from their living counterparts, the result is that the viewer is drawn closer. The differences invite exploration, and that allows for an opportunity to connect the human audiences to their own feelings and put them in relation to those of other creatures in the world. The results are a greater sense of place among the animals that man shares the world with.
See Chris Deverill’s sculptures on his artist page.
Connection To Nature
Deverill’s ability to connect the emotions of audiences to those of the animals of the world stems from his own connection to nature, which can be traced to his childhood. He spent his early years exploring the scenic beauty of Hawaii, and there developed a deep love of the great outdoors. Later in life he lived in both Alaska and Colorado, each places in which he could strengthen that bond.
This connection allowed Deverill a chance to observe the reactions of the animals around him, and he was able to see how often they would have recognizable responses. From curiosity and confusion to alertness and intrigue he could see familiar emotions reflected in the animals he saw.
By exaggerating these emotions, Deverill is able to present them in a way audiences can empathize with, and each whimsical sculpture becomes both a work of art, as well as a conduit to see the world through different eyes.
Though the end results are filled with a lighthearted whimsy that seems effortless, the process behind the sculptures are involved. Deverill creates each of his bronze cast sculptures using lost wax casting. This procedure starts with an original sculpture, from which a mold is made. This mold, with a rigid exterior and a soft interior is the basis from which further sculptures are created, and can be reused for as long as it is viable.
Making a sculpture using this mold starts by coating the inside with hot wax until a thick shell is formed. Once it’s ready the wax is released from the mold, any blemishes are removed and pieces that were separate are attached. This wax replica is then given channels for the molten metal to travel through in a process called spruing.
After spruing is complete the wax is dipped in a silica slurry and allowed to dry. This process is repeated several times in order to provide a thick shell for casting. Once the proper thickness is obtained the new shell is baked, making it rigid and the wax runs out. It is tested and patched then ready for use. The shells are placed in a tub filled with sand, and the metal is poured into them and allowed to cool completely.
Once the metal has hardened the shells are removed and imperfections such as evidence of the process, air bubbles or blemishes are corrected. Finally each piece is patinaed, finished and mounted. The end results are works that can stand the test of time and continue to captivate audiences for generations to come.