The Wildlife Experience recently received a new bronze sculpture on the museum grounds: a nine-foot long, 1,200-pound bronze sculpture of a cougar, by artist Kenneth Bunn.
Born in Denver, in 1935, Kenneth Bunn has been passionate about sculpture and anatomy since grammar school. He prefers to sculpt North American and African animals from life and does quick on-site models and sketches, which are then actualized in the studio. Bunn attempts to accurately depict the anatomy and captured event, but often exaggerates sections in order to emphasize an animal’s strength or movement. He’s often referred to as an impressionist because his pieces lack detail; however, Bunn insists the overall impact of the piece is more important than accuracy.
“I like to create the illusion of life—the spirit of the animal,” he says.
Bunn is fascinated by animal behavior and is partial to the big cat family. When asked how long the sculpture took to create, Bunn relied, “If I had to put a time card on each (sculpture), it would frighten me. Some are in the studio for a month to six months. Others we’ve had in the studio for a year.”
Present on Wednesday, July 13, at The Wildlife Experience, Bunn watched and participated in the logistics of the installation with care, and a bit of concern. A smile and visible relieve washed across his face once the big cat was permanently placed on its mound of stone.
Bunn’s cougar joins other permanent pieces that line The Wildlife Experience’s Nature Trail. This trail officially opened in April 2005; it encircles the museum and gives visitors the chance to see the indigenous flora and fauna of the area and the other permanent bronze sculptures that take up residence outside the facility. Installed on the northwest corner of the grounds, and facing the intersection on Lincoln Avenue, the cougar will greet guests as they arrive.