The Honesty of Deborah Butterfield’s Bronze Horses


American sculptor Deborah Butterfield’s latest exhibition at Marlborough Gallery in New York invitations audience to stroll circles round sculptures that cling probably the most fair charisma of horses I’ve ever observed, and but delightfully lie to of their subject matter. Despite the fact that every paintings seems to be assembled from quite a lot of sorts of wooden, they’re actually all bronze.

Installation with larger-than-life horse sculptures "Three Rivers" and "Bow Tie"

Deborah Butterfield, 2022, Marlborough Gallery, New York, Set up View

Large horse sculpture "Three Rivers" at entrance of gallery

3 Rivers, 2021-2022, solid bronze, distinctive

Torso of "Three Rivers"

3 Rivers (element), 2021-2022

Deborah Butterfield credit her lifelong fascination with horses along with her precise birthday: the similar day because the seventy fifth Kentucky Derby. Residing in Montana and Hawaii, she’s an achieved rider herself, forums many horses, and (as evidenced through each and every certainly one of her sculptures) possesses an unequalled figuring out of a horse’s spirit and anatomy.

Sculpture if "Bow Tie"

Bow Tie, 2021-2022, solid bronze, distinctive

Torso detail of "Bow Tie"

Bow Tie (element), 2021-2022

Main room of gallery exhibition with large "Sweetgrass" and smaller sculptures

Deborah Butterfield, 2022, Marlborough Gallery, New York, Set up View

Deborah collects her wooden from the bottom slightly than carve anything else from a block. Her alternatives are highest however by no means evident, with a watch to seek out the very best piece but in addition permit the wooden to tell the placement of the pony. The wooden is then solid in bronze and patinated to resemble the colour and light-catching high quality of the unique wooden.

The interpretation from wooden to bronze accomplishes greater than attention-grabbing audience with the meticulous talent required to tug it off. The bronze provides the “wooden” an staying power that can ultimate centuries, whilst additionally giving structural power to fragile or skinny items that would possibly not toughen every different differently.

Sculpture "Floweree" on pedestal

Floweree, 2021-2022, solid bronze, distinctive

Head detail of "Floweree"

Floweree (element), 2021-2022

Leg detail of "Floweree"

Floweree (element), 2021-2022

Sculpture "Bridger" on pedestal

Bridger, 2021-2022, solid bronze, distinctive

Torso detail of "Bridger"

Bridger (element), 2021-2022

Butterfield’s horses aren’t rearing up in struggle like maximum depictions of the animal in artwork historical past, however their “calmness” come what may encourages a better and wary appreciate for the possible energy of those animals. Butterfield provides phrases to enjoy of warning in an interview with Lawrence Weschler. That interview is printed in a list that accompanies the exhibition.

“Horses are like the sea. I imply, they’re extraordinarily civilized and domesticated. They’re highly intelligent—perhaps no longer at doing what other folks do or what canine do however they’re in point of fact sensible at what they do. They’re the most efficient at being horses of anyone. However there may be that risk and appreciate. The concept at any second they might kill you. Now not that they need to. They’re simply—they’re forces of nature. It may well get to be like a rogue wave: you simply by no means flip your again at the ocean.”

Sculpture "Plaid" on pedestal

Plaid, 2021-2022, solid bronze, distinctive

Main room of gallery exhibition with large "Sweetgrass" and smaller sculptures

Deborah Butterfield, 2022, Marlborough Gallery, New York, Set up View

Deborah Butterfield’s exhibition of latest sculpture at Marlborough Gallery coincides along with her receipt of the 2022 Lifetime Success Award from the Global Sculpture Heart.

Artist Deborah Butterfield stands next to work "Midday"

Deborah Butterfield with picket sculpture “Noon”, 2016, previous to casting. Picture Credit score: Walla Walla Foundry

What: Deborah Butterfield
The place: Marlborough Gallery, 545 West twenty fifth St, New York NY
When: November 3 – January 14, 2023

All pictures courtesy of Marlborough Gallery, New York. Pictures through Olympia Shannon until differently famous.

David Behringer visits over 200 galleries each and every month to discover and percentage probably the most thrilling recent artwork in New York nowadays. Subscribe to his unique weekly publication at and find out about his non-public gallery excursions. And ensure to try his YouTube.



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