Deborah Butterfield creates dynamic sculptures of horses from both natural and manmade materials. Inspired by her passion for horses, Butterfield began constructing horses at her ranch in Montana from wood and mud around her property. Over the past four decades she has experimented with many different materials including metals, fencing, old car parts and other found objects. Molding her resources into remarkable figures, Butterfield’s sculptures truly capture the wild spirit of a horse.
Breaking from the tradition of portraying horses as a tool of war, Butterfield makes decisive anti-war and feminist statement with her art. Her horses are not aggressive in stance and actually take on a feminine quality due to the subtle arch of the neck and the curve of the back. Carefully constructing each horse in a way to produce a specific temperament, Butterfield reminds us of the power of these animals by illuminating their gentle yet dangerous spirit within her artful sculptures.
Born in San Diego, CA in 1949, Butterfield received her BA and MFA from the University of California, Davis. She has been exhibited extensively throughout the United States with solo shows at the Seattle Art Museum, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, San Diego Museum of Art, CA; and the Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT among many others. Her works are part of the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.