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Artist/Maker: Deborah Butterfield (United States, b. 1949)

Date: 1991
Medium: painted found steel
Overall: 77 x 110 x 24 in. (195.6 x 279.4 x 61 cm)
Classification: Art Works
Credit Line: Gift of an Anonymous Donor
Object number: 91.0294
DescriptionDeborah Butterfield has devoted her career to producing expressive sculptural representations of horses in various media. Her singular artistic vision is focused on the physical and spiritual essence of the horse; throughout her year career, she has interpreted that vision in a remarkable variety of materials, including clay, mud and sticks, scrap metal, steel, and bronze. Rex, which is constructed of orange-colored steel strips, is a portrait of one of the artist's favorite horses. Made expressly for the Lowe, this work is a fine example of Deborah Butterfield's more recent sculptural style, characterized by an open configuration and linear, draftsman-like quality. Butterfield was born and trained in California. She began sculpting horses in the early 1970s, creating realistic works in plaster. Several years later, having tired of realism, she turned to the unlikely medium of mud and sticks. Around 1980 she abandoned natural materials and hands-on modeling for found steel, iron, and painted metal scraps, which she partially reshapes through a process that includes welding, cutting, and hammering. Butterfield has said that the proportions of her horse sculptures are directly related to her own body's proportions, so that in the larger sense, each sculpture is a kind of personal portrait.
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