Bronze Horses Sculpture Outdoor Exhibit July 2015

Bronze horse sculpture by Deborah Butterfield

Continuing on with this outdoor Gardens Exhibits series, the next on deck were the  bronze horses outdoor sculpture exhibit by Deborah Butterfield. Taking place at the Denver Botanic Gardens in the Summer of 2015, it was another opportunity to indulge my visual senses. It’s hard to resist the merging of Nature and Art in a beautiful outdoor setting.

I had never heard of Deborah Butterfield before. It was by way of the Denver Botanic Gardens email newsletter that I was made aware of the upcoming exhibit. The photo of her work included in the email newsletter had me intrigued. It was time to plan another visit to the gardens!

Note: These photos were taken with my old point and shoot digital camera. So like the Chihuly post and Origami in the Garden post, nothing to write home about in terms of quality. It’s about sharing the visual experiences. 

Some Background on Deborah Butterfield

Admittedly, I was not able to find a lot of information on her online. But it was enough to get a sense of how her work comes to be. It’s very interesting. Mind you these bronze horses sculptures are quite large.

With that, here is an overview:

Tall bronze horse sculpture in the grass.
Bronze horse sculpture in the grass.

“Deborah Butterfield is an American sculptor best known for her depictions of horses made from found objects and natural materials, such as wood and recycled metal.

Her work in bronze is cast from found wood and sticks, and Butterfield’s horses are imbued with an array of complex, almost human, emotional states.

She was born on May 7, 1949, the same day as the 75th Kentucky Derby—an event she cites as influencing her choice of subject matter”.


Here is some more interesting background information:

“Butterfield carefully, intuitively, selects the branches and sticks which are used to “draw” her horses. The lines of the branches do not simply outline the forms of horses, they create contours through an accumulation of simple or energetic lines that seem to build up from within. This is three-dimensional gesture drawing, and the result is both skeletal and muscular. Like a good drawing, they convey movement, weight, energy and volume.

These models or “ghosts” (as the artist refers to them) are then cast, burning the wood away with molten bronze, creating one, unique sculpture to which she then methodically, expertly applies her patina.”


Lying down bronze horse sculpture at Denver Botanic Gardens
Horse sculpture lying down and one having a nibble.
Horse sculpture appearing to be eating grass.

Horse Sculptures – Skeletal Looking Yet Emotive

Walking around the gardens is always a treat. By July the ponds are alive with all the lily pads and lotus flowers blooming. And seeing how these bronze horse sculptures were both created and placed gave them a life-like appearance.

Bronze horse sculpture at Denver Botanic Gardens July 2015.
Looking almost skeletal, the horse sculptures do appear to capture emotion.

It’s hard to put into words as the horses seem almost skeletal. However, at the same time they do appear to evoke an emotional sense coming from the horses. It’s certainly no small task for an artist to be able to capture that using wood and sticks as her initial medium!

I don’t know if this exhibit is still in rotation? But if it should come to your city, it’s definitely worth checking out 🙂

Feel inspired? Please share...