Assemblage - Untitled (3-85) | Artopia

Deborah Butterfield

A Closer Look

If you look at Untitled (3-85) from a distance you might think it's a real horse. When an artist is able to use the principle of design balance, as Deborah Butterfield has, the object becomes much more lifelike. The fluid use of materials gives her sculpture movement. Collect a bunch of discarded materials and glue them together to make an animal or object that you like a lot. See if you can make it stand up and balance on its own without falling over.

About the Sculpture

This life-size sculpture, Untitled (3-85) is an example of Deborah Butterfield's work from the 1980's when she was making horses out of scraps of metal and junk. Her first horses were made of delicate materials like grass and mud. Now she often makes sculptures out of pieces of wood from her Montana farm. Then she takes the wooden structure apart, casts the pieces in bronze and puts the sculpture back together.

About the Artist

Deborah Butterfield has spent her life in a "dialogue with another species" – the horse. She considered becoming a veterinarian but she went to art school instead. She studied ceramics with Robert Arneson and became a sculptor of horses. While still a student she bought her first horse and worked and lived on a thoroughbred farm. Today she lives on a ranch in Montana and divides her time between art and riding and training horses.


Write About It

  • Make a list of what you see.
  • How did the artist use the elements and principles of design?
  • What do you think the sculpture means? How does it make you feel?
  • Select two sculptures to compare & contrast.