Deborah Butterfield was born and raised in California. After she studied art at the University of California in Davis,
she and her family moved to a ranch in Montana where she
continues her art career. Butterfield’s sculptures are limited to a single subject: the horse.
The sculptures stand quietly or are lying down, with a suggestion of little or no action. Butterfield’s horses are always
either larger-than-life size, or on a miniature level, three to four feet in length. She forms her horses
out of cast wood pieces as well as out of recycled materials, constructing the found pieces to an exact fit. Butterfield
limits her range of subject, materials, and size, to envelop herself in the subject matter and as she says, “to try
to communicate with another species, which happens to be the horse, and perhaps to gain more and different information.”
NOMA’s piece, the slightly larger than life size horse was cast in bronze pieces. In this process, Butterfield constructs
a horse from found wood pieces. The wood she chooses for these pieces are evidently weathered and well-worn. The artist constructs
her horse from found wood and is then photographs the wooden sculpture from all angles. Then the scupture is disassembled
and each wood piece is individually cast in bronze. Butterfield then reconstructs the horse with the bronzed “wood”
using the photographs of the original wooden horse to put each bronze piece in its exact place. The bronze horse is then painted
with patina to make it look like the original weathered wood.
Much information on this site courtesy of the New Orleans Museum of Art.