Gordon, Robert, with Jane Smiley, John Yau & Vicki Hearne
- Deborah Butterfield
Harry N. Abrams Inc. Publishers, New York NY, 2003.
Square quarto; hardcover, with bronze spine and upper board titling and decorated endpapers; 178pp., with many full-colour illustrations. Minor wear. Dustwrapper mildly sunned along the spine; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Near fine. Over 25 years, Deborah Butterfield has created sculptures with a single subject: horses. This book is introduced by Jane Smiley, with an essay by poet and art critic John Yau and poems by the late Vicki Hearne. In this beautiful book Butterfield emerges as a thoroughbred in the world of art. As Smiley says, 'I have never met a horse lover who did not gasp at the truth of Butterfield's horses'. Whether her works are found in steel or iron, wood, barbed wire or cast bronze, her ability to animate a pile of seemingly lifeless materials with the shape and spirit of a horse is breathtaking. Old steel letters, car fenders and rebar and pieces of signs; the detritus of industry as well as crooked sticks, thorns, pieces of fencing and driftwood have all been brought from disintegration in to order. As John Yau writes;- 'It is the gap between resemblance and transformation and between likeness and otherness, that we must begin to grapple with. And only in our grappling do we realize how much her work has to tell us. For Butterfield's horses are no longer recognisable forms.. they are both the inside and the outside of the horse, both the armature and the skin. By using the detritus, it could also be called the residue of time's passing, to make the skin and armature inseparable, Butterfield is able to probe the nature of reality, as well as deal with intensely human preoccupations - obsolescence, waste, death and violence.'
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