new-york

Deborah Butterfield

Edward Thorp Gallery

For millennia the horse has been a standard, idolized fixture, in art as in life. “Horse country” is the place where the rich discover that there is a passion deeper than the passion for money. The horse is sexually symbolic, an expression of wild erotic power, as in D. H. Lawrence’s short story “St. Mawr.” It is often the first, and last, serious love of young girls. Deborah Butterfield has a young girl’s passion for horses, no doubt highly preferable to human beings, who are too complicated. The question is, Why are her horses so broken (and I don’t mean broken in)? The seven sculptures in this exhibition are the metallic ruins of horseflesh as well as abstract images of primitive horses. Their ancestor is the pale horse that Death rode in Albert Pinkham Ryder’s painting The Race Track, 1890–1910. They appear all the more archaic by being rendered in rotting, rusting metal—the “posthistoric”

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