Deborah Butterfield (American, born 1949),
Museum purchase with funds from Collectors' Choice 1990 and the National Endowment for the Arts Purc, 1990.38
Deborah Butterfield has been creating life-size sculptures of horses since the 1970s. Rejecting the traditional rearing stallion imagery seen throughout the history of art in favor of a quieter, more nurturing representation of horses, Butterfield points to the vulnerable side of these animals. The artist has referred to her horses as symbolic self-portraits that reflect her moods and aspirations. This element of exposure is reflected in the sculptures’ open, skeletal composition. Butterfield created Hapu by casting in bronze Hawaiian hapu tree ferns and passion fruit vines that she collected in the forest.