Deborah Butterfield

Biography

Deborah Butterfiled grew up in San Diego in the 1950s and 60s, and frequently rode and drew pictures of horses. At the University of California, Davis, in the 1970s, she studied ceramics under Robert Arneson, the funk artist who helped propel the medium from the realm of craft and encouraged his student to pursue her idea of making elaborate life-size saddles. In graduate school, she moved onto a horse farm and helped take care of the animals to pay her rent.

 

In the 1970s, Butterfield made her first horses from plaster, papier-mȃché, and mud and sticks. In the mid-’80s, she began casting her work in bronze to retain the aesthetics of rotting wood in the casting process, in which the raw material burns away in the furnace, and molten bronze fills the void.

 

She and her artist husband John Buck live on a Montana ranch, where they maintain separate studios and sometimes host equine events, including dressage shows and training clinics.

 

Butterfield’s work is held in the collections of dozens of U.S. museums, including Art Institute of Chicago, H.M. de Young Museum in San Francisco, Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Palm Springs Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum, and Walker Art Center and Walker Sculpture Garden in Minneapolis.

Exhibitions
June 2016
Heather James Fine Art
July - September 2015
Heather James Fine Art - Jackson, WY
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