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Deborah Butterfield

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Deborah Butterfield has been captivated by horses all her life. While studying art at the University of California, Davis, she combined her interest in art and material with her fascination with the equine species. Horses continued to be her focus during the mid-1970s, when she served as a visiting lecturer and assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and they remain at the core of her life and artwork today. Butterfield’s first horse sculptures were made of plaster or ceramics. By 1976 she began to incorporate mud and stick, with the aid of steel armatures, into both large and small sculptures. By the early 80’s she was using many more unique and experimental materials to capture the horses’ personalities. These materials included lead, copper, aluminum, and rusted steel from industrial signs. By the mid 1980’s Butterfield was creating sculptures from found sticks that were then cast in bronze with patina. The sculptures that resulted, often larger than life-size, appeared to be made of large sticks or driftwood. She continues to use bronze as a primary medium today. The horses Deborah Butterfield creates are sometimes lying down, sometimes turning their heads or about to lower their heads for another bite of grass. Despite the typical nature of the animal poses Butterfield shapes, the postures of the sculptures often evoke human emotions and demeanor. Text by: John Yau (via Zolla/Lieberman Gallery) Photobucket Photobucket

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