Where people are using chicken wire and hardware cloth as a support for their plaster/ cement/ concrete sculptures, they should be using the correct support material which is 'lath'.
In the old days, the inner walls in houses were constructed from closely spaced strips of wood and then plaster was applied over that and smoothed out. These strips of wood were called 'lath' and the wall was 'lath and plastered'. They later came out with a type of 'expanded metal' to use in place of the wooden 'lath'. This made the wall construct quicker because they were in 4' x 8' sheets. That has given way of course to 'plasterboard'. But, the 'metal lath' is still available and used today under 'stucco' walls. That would be the best support over the wood armature and under the coating. The companies that now make the 'metal studs' also usually make the 'metal lath'. One is www.clarkdietrich.com