“Woodrow” has been an institution in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden since 1988. It was created by artist Deborah Butterfield, who has been making art since the 1970s inspired by the horses on her ranch in Montana. She uses horses in her artwork to make a feminist statement; that mares are just as strong as stallions while also being capable of creation. Her works are typically created in mix media with materials such as wood, scrap metal or hay. Though the sculpture looks like it was constructed from wooden branches, it is actually made of metal to better withstand the outdoor weather elements.
While Butterfield originally wanted to design the entire sculpture from sticks and bark; she cast each piece with bronze metal and welded them together to form the body of the sculpture. It was then painted in a patina finish to mimic the color of the original sticks. This treatment provides the viewer with a trompe l’oeil (trick of the eye) effect. Butterfield has shown her equestrian-inspired artwork all over the country with exhibits at the Honolulu Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She was also featured in “Women's Work: the Montana Women's Centennial Art Survey Exhibition 1889–1989”.
Butterfield has always been attracted to using horses as the subject matter in her art. She claims the inspiration came from being born on the same day as the 75th Kentucky Derby. She currently splits time between her ranch in Montana and in Hawaii, where she does most of her artwork.
"Woodrow" by Paul VanDerWerf is licensed under CC by 2.0 via Flickr.