Featured Artwork: Burneta Venosdel

Tallgrass Warriors
11 x 20 x 13 in.
Edition of 13
Available through Carriage Factory Gallery, Newton, KS

Sculptor Burneta Venosdel recalls seeing a documentary in the early 80’s filmed by the Colorado Wildlife Department at ranch near Dexter, Kansas. The film focused on the capture, study, film and transplant of Greater Prairie Chicken to Colorado. Little did she know at the time this memory would inspire her own research of the magnificent prairie chickens now facing extinction, as well as her recent bronze sculpture, Tallgrass Warriors, Fighting Greater Prairie Chickens.

Tallgrass Warriors is in an upcoming exhibition, Creatures Great and Small at Carriage Factory Gallery, along with paintings by artists Carolyn Mock and Julie Gowing Hayes. The show and sale opens with artists talks on Saturday, November 17 and continues through January 11, 2019.

“I have always thought part of my work as a sculptor artist is to create works which raise awareness of historic subjects and endangered species,” says Burneta.

While not on the official endangered list yet, Burneta learned during her research trip to the George Miksch Sutton Avian Research Center near Bartlesville, Oklahoma, the prairie chicken numbers are dwindling.

“Through the work of the Nature Conservancy, four hundred eggs were collected last year from different parts of the Tallgrass Prairie and brought to the Sutton Center to hatch.”

The Tallgrass Prairie now stretches from northern Oklahoma to Canada. The eggs collected range in color from pinky mauve, peach, tan through various shades of brown. Once placed in warmed incubators the eggs have to be turned several times a day. Volunteers acted as surrogate mothers around the clock each day until the eggs hatch.

“The whole process was very fascinating to me,” says Burneta, who grew up on a farm near her pioneer family in northwestern Oklahoma. The process was the same Burneta witnessed as a young child when her grandmother provided fertile chicken eggs to the local hatchery, which then supplied baby chicks to the local farmers.

Burneta was inspired to create two fighting Prairie Chickens, fighting for the right to breed the hens in their lech, or territory. The sculpture Tallgrass Warriors tells the story of the declining species of the Greater Prairie Chicken in the Tallgrass Prairie and their quest for survival.

Burneta, the great granddaughter of northwestern Oklahoma pioneers, is an award-winning sculptor. For Women Artists of the West (WAOW) ‘Tallgrass Rendezvous’ 2018 exhibition and sale she served as co-chair with artist Julie Gowing Hayes. Women Artists of the West in the oldest and largest Women’s art organization, celebrating its 48th year with over 300 members from the United States, Canada and Australia. Burneta is a Master-Signature member of WAOW. She is also a Signature Member of both the American Plains Artists and the American Women Artists. National recognition and awards from juried shows and exhibitions include being the featured Artist of the Month at the Museum of Western Art.

Other galleries representing Burneta include R.S. Hanna Gallery in Fredericksburg, Texas, and Echota Arts Gallery in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Tallgrass Warriors and many of her other sculptures and paintings may be viewed on her website. To be the first to see new works, follow her on Facebook.