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Indepth Arts News:

"Deborah Butterfield 's Horses"
2005-05-25 until 2005-08-28
Neuberger Museum of Art
Purchase, NY, USA

Horses have been the single, sustained focus of the work of Deborah Butterfield for more than 20 years. Deborah Butterfield, on view at the Neuberger Museum of Art from May 22 through August 28, 2005, offers a comprehensive overview of the work of an enormously popular, significant American sculptor, showcasing her magnificent horse sculptures and celebrating the release of a major book on her remarkable career. Most of the works in the exhibition are on loan from Butterfield’s personal collection and have rarely, if ever, been seen by the public. The exhibition is organized and traveled by The Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, Montana.

Born in 1949 in San Diego, California on the day of the 75th running of the Kentucky Derby, Deborah Butterfield credits this event as determining her career as a modernist sculptor of horses. Using found objects that have included a wrecked trailer and the remains of a factory, Butterfield applies symbolic objects to armature that furnishes the framework for her semi-realistic horses’ bodies. In 1973, she began making horses from mud, sticks, barbed wire, and metal, creating a remarkably prolonged, disciplined and ultimately poetic inquiry into the human relationship with the organic world, with other life forms, and with our individual selves. Butterfield first gained wide notice when her work was shown at the 1979 Whitney Biennial. In the 1980’s, the artist enhanced her oeuvre with full-size and smaller works made from sticks and branches, and she began casting the finished sculpture in bronze.
Based in Montana, Deborah Butterfield captures the spirit and beauty of a state in which the horse is a part of Western culture and mystique. She has exhibited across the United States and in Europe. Butterfield’s work is widely collected by private individuals and museums, and she has been commissioned by a number of significant museums and public sites including the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden in Minneapolis, Minnesota; the Denver Art Museum, Colorado; Urban Development Corporation of Boston, Massachusetts for a sculpture in Copley Square; the Greenwich Arts Council, Connecticut; the Circus World Museum, Baraboo, Wisconsin; the Kentucky Derby Festival of Arts, Churchill Downs; the Portland, Oregon International Airport; and the Kansas City Zoo, Kansas.

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