You might not need to increase the bounding box. If the player's bounding box is set right and the statue is set right, you could check if place_meeting(x,y,obj_player) in the statue's object's step event (step event is more flexible, I feel). As long as the bounding boxes are touching, it will work. So you may need to make the statue's box SMALLER to force the player closer.
This is the code I tried to put in the step event of the statue ( actually the pedestal it sits on) to check if the character is within bounds of the examinable area ( which is currently just the pedestal, but would optimally be a couple of tiles around it) AND is pressing A. I can get it to go to the next room upon collision of the two objects if " while keyboard_check('A') is on the second line... but it doesn't check if A is pressed at all. I've actually noticed this multiple times having two lines like this and only the first is executed. I assume there is an error in my syntax? Either way the code below does not work at all and eventually makes the game freeze up and I have to force quit the program. Any suggestions on how to fix?
if place_meeting( x, y, obj_chris3) while keyboard_check('A')
room_goto_next() // go to the next room