Sculpture by Ross Matteson

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1995 by Ross Matteson   bronze    36 x 28 x 27 inches   edition size 20

Virginia  is a tribute to the first female peregrine falcon to nest in downtown Seattle. In the spring of 1994, "Virginia" was tragically killed by flying into a glass window.   She was hunting pigeons while being spelled by her mate who was with their young chicks.   She and her mate "Stewart" were not captive bred falcons released into an urban setting, but a wild pair that chose Seattle's Washington Mutual Savings Tower as the best aerie in one of their few remaining choices of habitat.   Fortunate for those of us in the Pacific Northwest that love natural beauty, the Seattle peregrines have provided a window into the breeding cycle of a falcon that is rarely observed so intimately and by so many people.   Without question, nature lovers in Seattle adopted this falcon family as their own.

Virginia, the bronze sculpture, is my nearly life-size interpretation of Virginia launching into flight.   The massive yet ethereal support form is a corroborating study in grace.   The flowing lines and shapes help communicate the unforgettable feeling that is experienced when you observe a peregrine falcon's spectacular flight.   Virginia's wings, just reaching the upstroke are mirrored in the support form.   Because of this, her down stroke becomes suggested in the wing shapes that are on the surface of the support form.   For many viewers, eye movement goes back and forth between the falcon and support form -- making the wings appear to be moving up and down.   Virginia is an animated portrait which I hope brings a special memory back to life!

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[photo credit: Ross Matteson]