“I think she was one of the best sculptors of animals in a long time,” Schon said.
Seamans could also create portraits of particular animals in commissioned works, which Schon said takes remarkable skill.
“The subtlety of animals’ features — it’s so hard to find features that are different,” she said. “She could do it. She had a way with animals.”
In addition to recreating the ducks from Robert McCloskey’s children’s book in Boston, Schon’s own public sculptures of animals have included a pair of prairie dogs for a botanical garden in Oklahoma City and several raccoons in Nashville, Tenn.
“I can say things with animals that I can’t say with people,” she said.
She also likes the fact that people of all ages feel comfortable interacting with sculptures of animals, which they rarely do with human figures.
“You put a 2-year-old on my Bacon, and they’re so happy they don’t know what to do with themselves,” she said.
In a catalog for the show, which will be available to visitors, Schon contrasts the work of sculptors with painters.
“As a painter, one has to make the viewer see a third dimension from a two-dimensional form,” she writes. “Further, the objects in paintings can be flying all over the place, like Pingree’s Flying Horse.
“We, as sculptors, must indicate a form from infinite sides and somehow that form or that sculpture has to be grounded, even a mobile. As you look at the sculptures, you might want to think about that.”
Along with Schon, Seamans and Friedman, the exhibit will include works by Gloucester’s Daniel Altshuler, who has contributed a bas relief of Louisa May Alcott, and by Boston-based Richard Bertman, whose “Head of a Woman” is made of wire.