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Field Notes | Walter Matia June 18, 2021–January 9, 2022

Welcome to the outdoor portion of the exhibition, FIELD NOTES | WALTER MATIA, on view at the National Sporting Library & Museum in Middleburg, Virginia through January 9, 2022. Large-scale bronze sculptures mounted on Tennessee stone bases are displayed in six locations throughout the campus. Walter T. Matia's study of biology, early work as a taxidermist, successful career as a conservationist, and life-long drive to observe nature as a hunter-naturalist inform his sculptures of wild and domesticated animals and bring them to life.

"Field Notes | Walter Matia" is made possible through the generosity of Susan and John Mullin.

1) Crossing to Safety, 2017

bronze, 68 x 18 x 12 inches, Collection of the artist

"Out too late, up too early, caught napping again... a mid-morning rocketing of Green-wing Teal adds perfection to a day in the duck marsh." - WTM

2) Cry Havoc, 2019

bronze, 88 x 30 x 18 inches, Collection of the artist

"As a family, our household regularly travels to National Parks and other wildlife refuges throughout the country. If you look long enough or are just lucky, a Peregrine Falcon will flash through your life. Eagles are muscle, hawks are persistent, and falcons are speed." -WTM

3) Rewards of First Light, 2012

bronze, 46 x 56 x 17 inches, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John Mullin

"A friend of mine says he doesn’t really like to pursue any birds that get up earlier than he does. That mantra will do for quail hunters and grouse hunters, but for turkeys a disdain for the clock yields the 'Rewards of First Light.'" -WTM

4) International Harvester, 2016

bronze, 38 x 47 x 14 inches, Collection of the artist

"There are elegant English pointers, but ‘pretty is as pretty does’ is the currency of the realm. The gaunt angularity of a well conditioned dog is almost too hard to look at. The end-of-season scrapes and scars, the bloody tails, and torn ears are all badges of honor. They are great dogs to sculpt: all the bones are on the surface, and the gestures make sense in their frozen stillness. 'International Harvester' attempts to capture the elegance, ruggedness, and commitment of the dog to his task." -WTM

5) Legend of the Fall, 2005

bronze, 57 x 24 x 24 inches, Collection of the artist

"A heron sculpture is mostly about working to define beauty through what is not there. The silhouette and the negative spaces are the tools I chose to describe—the essence of the long-necked wading birds. I am always aware of the compositional relationships between the masses and lines of the environment. 'Legend of the Fall' was conceived in a pitcher plant bog in coastal Alabama. The dried stalks of the plants complemented the masses and forms of herons." -WTM

6) Whooping Crane, 1992

bronze, 59 x 48 x 27 inches, Collection of the American Bird Conservancy

"At some point in your career you have to do something large—both in scale and in concept. In 1992, the Richard King Mellon Foundation in Pittsburgh was moving offices and one of my earliest supporters called to say they would like me to do a few pieces for a pair of architectural niches. He didn't say what to do but to ‘do it fast before some decorator stuck silk flowers in the spaces.’ At the time the R. K. Mellon was one of the few large foundations providing funds for land protection. The cranes represented one of the fledgling success stories of the intersection of habitat conservation, artificial breeding, and reintroduction." -WTM

7) The Finalist, 2020

bronze, 42 x 26 x 29 inches, Collection of Mr. Paul Tudor Jones

"Over the last 30 years, I have probably modeled three dozen turkeys. I like turkeys, they are big enough and complex enough to do something powerful with them. They were once rare in my area; I now get to see them regularly. The familiarity led to my constant critique of older efforts until this year when I decided to take one last run at what I want to say about wild turkeys... 'The Finalist' in so many ways." -WTM

PLAN A VISIT to the Museum to see the indoor portion of the exhibition.

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