Please join us for our “First Thursday” opening reception with Deborah Butterfield June 7, 2018, from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Greg Kucera Gallery is pleased to announce its 12th exhibition of new sculpture by Deborah Butterfield. The underlying theme for the show is about how found material has long been a part of Butterfield's work, but particularly how her employment of detritus and refuse has allowed her to bring color to the cast works in the last several years. Deborah has been combing the beaches and river banks for more than 40 years picking up wood and sticks for use in her works and the bronze work has always been about suggesting the coloration of the found material, mostly grey, white, and earth tones. This work was initially inspired by a long residency in Iceland where she combed beaches there for driftwood but also found brightly colored, very domestic kinds of utilitarian material as in works like DRAUPNIR.
Now the artist has focused on the colored plastic, glass, foam and other materials that have floated onto the beaches and shores of Washington, Oregon, Alaska and British Columbia. Particularly, she has been entranced with the material floating here from Japan after their tragic earthquake and tsunami in 2011. The Japanese titles refer to the tsunami works and the Icelandic language titles refer to material found on beaches there. Butterfield has worked with the Gulf of Alaska Keepers in finding some of this material. It's very environmentally focused, but she's also intrigued by the humanity revealed in the kinds of material that has floated all the way across the ocean and landed here. Bits of homes, cars, clothing, and so forth, suggest the uprooted lives and drastically altered stories of the Japanese people.
Deborah Butterfield was born in San Diego, California in 1949. She received her BA and MFA from UC Davis. Butterfield's work has been featured in over 50 museum exhibitions. Recently she has had one-person exhibitions at: The University Art Museum, University of Louisiana, Lafayette; The Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN; The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu; Tucson Museum of Art; Figge Art Museum, Davenport, IA; Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV and The Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach, FL.
Butterfield’s work is included in the permanent collections of many major museums, including: The Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Baltimore Museum of Art; Brooklyn Museum; The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu; National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; San Diego Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Seattle Art Museum; The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Denver Botanic Gardens; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Since 1980, Butterfield has been constructing life- size horses from sticks and plant material from which she creates a casting in bronze at the Walla Walla Foundry in Washington State. Butterfield sculpts the original work by fastening logs, branches, sticks, planks, and boards onto a pre- welded bronze armature that gives the basic posture of the particular horse. Molds are made for each chunk of wood piece by piece, the burnable elements are covered with heat resistant plaster and then baked in a furnace until the wood completely burns away. Molten bronze is then poured into the recesses left by the wood. When the plaster is chipped away, the wooden piece has been refashioned exactly in bronze—right down to the grain of the wood. Since the wood is destroyed and the plaster is discarded in the casting process, each sculpture is unique and cannot be duplicated. The work is reassembled in bronze and intricately patinated to suggest the original wood used in making the sculpture.