Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Horses take over the Denver Botanic Gardens

Yesterday morning my husband, Len and I finally made it over to the Denver Botanic Gardens to see the cast bronze horse sculptures by Deborah Butterfield.  There was a beautiful blue sky with little chance of rain, finally.  There are 15 horses on loan from the artist, private collections, galleries and various museums.  
Butterfield was born on May 7, 1946, the same day as the 75th Kentucky Derby, which is only fitting since she has such a love of horses.
"Charlo" shown grazing is Butterfield's latest sculpture: cast bronze, painted and patinated.
She works with wood and scrap metal fastened together with wire.  Photographed from every angle, she recreates these horses in cast bronze.
"Storm Castle" was inspired from pieces of driftwood found from a pond near her winter home in Hawaii.   I really like the whole movement from the rump to the mane as if a huge snow storm was blowing the horse from the rear.  She spends the other part of the year at ranch in Bozman, Montana. 
Great positioning of "Tracery" amongst the grasses.
In 1997, the Denver Art Museum acquired three of Butterfield's horses, "Willy, Argus and Lucky".  The trio can be normally be viewed in the Kemper courtyard that is located on the north side of the Gio Ponti Building. "Lucky" is on loan for this exhibition.  He was one of Butterfield's favorite horses and she captured him perfectly.  "Lucky" enjoyed curling up like this on the ground and being petted.  Many of the sculptures are named after her own horses while other names come from significant places that are special to her.
"Whitebark" is very substantial but also looks very content.  Butterfield casts and assembles the horses in a foundry located in Walla Walla, Washington, the largest foundry in the United States. She works from large scaffolding, meticulously assembling cast bronze pieces that resemble branches and sticks.  It can take up to 3 to 5 years to complete one of her horses.
Weighing any where from 1,500 to 2,500 pounds, they were carefully set in place with a crane at the gardens
"Crane" has a certain beauty about him.
From a different perspective of "Crane",  I feel like he is reaching over the fence for a handful of alfalfa. 
"Willy" from the trio of horses at the Denver Art Museum.
"Hawai'i" from her own collection.

These skeletal larger-than-life horses are magnificent!   
The show runs through October 18, 2015.

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