Drawn to what she considers to be “misunderstood” animals, much of Copper’s work centers on burros and bats, prompting viewers to contemplate how both animals are more complex than depicted in the stereotypes that surround them. As an example, she explains, “burros have proven to be smart, loyal and hardworking animals, and bats perform crucial ecological roles: consuming crop-destructive insects while contributing to fruit and flower pollination.”
Many of Copper’s animal forms possess human features, attributes and gestures. Tritscheller elaborates, “I like to approach these figures from all angles, sculpting them as animals and anthropomorphically. When I push the barrier between animal and human, I try to focus on what makes us similar instead of stigmatizing our differences. Giving these animals human characteristics allows me to further identify with my subject as well as bring a new perspective to my audience.”
While bronze is Tritscheller’s primary medium, she has also been exploring the use of colored, cast glass as an element in her sculptures. One way she incorporates this new material is by fusing glass wings to her bronze bat sculptures. The fragility and opaque quality of the glass wings add a striking contrast to the solid, stable weight of the bronze bat, and this unlikely combination of materials serves to energize her sculptures. While the process of casting glass is similar to bronze, Copper has found this new medium to have its own challenges. She explains, “Bronze is virtually indestructible. Even if it is damaged, the surface can be reworked. Glass is much more fragile and if it gets damaged at any point in the process, I have to start over again. It is difficult to work with but the results have been worth it.”
While Tritscheller explores a range of themes and ideas through her work, she also leaves room for viewers to bring their own experiences and interpretations. Tritscheller concludes, “I don’t have premeditated ideas I want to convey but I do want to spark something akin to primal emotion – a feeling or thought that connects you to what you are looking at. I use animals which cause an emotional response in me and try to share that feeling in my work.”
About the Artist
A native of Georgia, Copper Tritscheller always had an artistic side, but did not originally pursue a career in art. In 2000, she had an opportunity to study with professional patinators, welders, sculptors and at foundries to learn as much as she could. She explains, “I learned by doing and I am fortunate to have many talented friends who have generously shared their skills and knowledge, helping me in ways I could not have achieved on my own.”
Tritscheller has exhibited her work extensively in gallery exhibitions, art fairs, and competitions in the United States and abroad. She has been featured in solo exhibitions at Giacobbe Fritz Fine Art Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico and at the Philippe Staib Galleries in Taiwan and China. Articles about her work and career have been published in Southwest Art Magazine and Shanghai Daily. Her work is also included in numerous public art installations, with one of her sculptures being the first installed in a new Sculpture Garden in Palm Coast, Florida.