T03058 GUADALUPE ISLAND CARACARA 1979
Synthetic paints, lacquers and other materials on honeycomb aluminium, 93 3/4 × 121 × 18 (238 × 307.5 × 45.5)
Purchased from the Knoedler Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1980
Repr: The Artist, XCV, September 1980, on cover (detail); Tate Gallery 1978–80, p.59 in colour
Stella regards this work as part of the ‘completion’ of the series of works named after exotic birds which he began in 1976. The caracara is a South American falcon family and Polyborus Lutosus, a now extinct species, was found only on Guadalupe Island, approximately 150 miles off the coast of Southern California in the Pacific. There does not seem to be any specific link between the birds and the forms in this work.
Stella made drawings for the works of this series on semi-transparent paper with instruments normally used by marine architects and railway engineers. These were converted into a foam-board maquette of the same size, which indicated the thickness of the final version, and then passed to an independent metal fabricator to make at 3 and 5.5 times the original size. The Tate's version is the larger.
The fabricator used standard building or packaging materials - aluminium sheets sandwiched around honeycombs made from paper or metal or expanded foam. The differing thicknesses are for structural rather than aesthetic reasons.
The work was delivered to the artist unpainted; he used a large variety of media to obtain his effects, notably silkscreen inks, acrylic colours, ground glass, aluminium glitter, reflective beads and lithographic crayons.
The Tate Gallery 1978-80: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1981