MacDowell’s work surrounds the reoccurring themes of decay and beauty with a strong connection with meaning. The meaning changed from piece to piece however for this sculpture the name of the piece says it all; Still Born. It is clear from the visual of the piece that it is about pregnancy and birth and initially the viewer isn't lead to the concept that the chick within the egg is dead. However this is communicated in two ways within this piece, the first being the symbolism of the egg. The everyday idea of a like is a hard, cold and pretty lifeless thing most of the time, this is exactly what MacDowell is symbolising here. The next indication to the idea of death comes from the position and posture of the mother bird. The posture of the bird is very much flat and lifeless giving a sense of a complete circle through the life span being over and ending because of the chick has also died.
This leads me onto the next point with the posture. The way in which it is laid, wings stretched resemble a religious and holy pose with the egg clear for the world to see. The symbolism of a bird surrounds Mother Mary within Christianity and as we know she is all about purity and life. Surrounding this concept of purity is how MacDowell uses porcine and leaves it in its natural form. This all can be dissolved together within a religious context expressing the conception in a new way or in comparison expressing her views on the religious balance in saying something pure is so closely related to decay and death.
Overall ‘Still Born’ has a strong connect with decay within the body; however with the concepts stated there a strong connection with a religious symbol is expressing her views on the story. MacDowell achieves this in a non offensive away making the concept of a still bird into something visually beautiful.