Butterfield Horse Sculptures

Driftwood or Bronze? Sculptures Delight and Amaze

Exhibition of Butterfield Horses at Denver Botanic Gardens closes Sunday Oct. 18, 2015

Life-sized horses abound at the Denver Botanic Gardens. They have been resting and grazing there and are ready for other pastures soon. Don’t miss this exhibition before they are rounded up this Sunday.

This photo is of Argus, a beautiful gray steed created from birch. Or is he?

Argus, Deborah Butterfield

As it turns out, the sculpture is cast from bronze. But this one of a kind work of art was originally constructed from wood. After carefully selecting the wood Butterfield assembles them to create her equine masterpieces.

Just as carefully, the pieces are dismantled. The pieces are then cast in bronze and then reassembled.

Once the bronze is complete, Butterfield adds the patina. Often the pieces look very much like the original wood because of her carefully layering of paint, patinas, acids, and heat. Sometimes the chemical reaction is not exactly as she plans them, resulting in coloring that provides more evidence that the works are indeed made of bronze rather than wood.

The video below is an excerpt of the film, Deborah Butterfield: Dialogue with the Artist, made for the Denver Art Museum. In the film the artist discusses her love of horses and sculpture and takes us on a journey of how she came to create her signature style.

The horses are found throughout the grounds, surprising visitors as they meander along the many paths. Well, the visitors meander, the horses are stationary.

Willy, another of the Butterfield horse sculptures, stood proudly against the backdrop of blue sky, evergreens, fall foliage, and looked over his shoulder at the steaming fountains.

Willy by Deborah Butterfield

The sculpture exhibitions at the Denver Botanic Gardens are a great treat. Not only do art lovers get to experience world-class sculpture, the plants and various gardens are enjoyable for the entire family. A feast for the eyes and inspiration for your garden or next art project.

Video: Deborah Butterfield: Dialogue with the Artist [excerpt] a Bar K Productions, produced for the Denver Art Museum

Photo of Argus, from the Botanic Gardens The Nature of Horses exhibition website

Photo of Willy courtesy of Laurie Tossy