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Deborah Butterfield
L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, California
Recommendation by Scarlet Cheng

Deborah Butterfield's horse sculptures take on a life of their own in convincing arrangements of tree branches cast in bronze.


Continuing through November 10, 2012


Deborah Butterfield's eight new horse sculptures have a life of their own, and one suspects that at any moment they might step forward and start snorting and stomping the ground. In fact they are quite solidly made of cast and patina-ed bronze. Butterfield creates them in an elaborate multi-step process, assembling found pieces of wood for the model. The pieces are then taken apart, individually cast and then re-assembled. A basic horse physique is suggested, but each exudes a different soul or personality. As Butterfield, who owns ten horses, remarked, "In real life each horse is different, so why shouldn't these be?" 


Two are particularly stunning. "Hyalite" is a massive, 8-foot tall creature in black, as if made of charred wood, and stands solemnly as testament to a grave tragedy, perhaps referencing the wildfires that have plagued the artist's home state of Montana. And indeed she did gather together burnt wood for the model of "Hyalite." Elsewhere, on a pedestal, is a much smaller, delicate horse. "Girly" is just over three feet tall, and made of small, curly pieces that are intertwined with ohia, a Hawaiian tree of the myrtle family, and what appear to be pods. Butterfield has found just the right twig to outline the top of "Girly's" gently lifted head, alert and attentive to the coming season. 


Published courtesy of ArtSceneCal ©2012

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