A career-spanning exhibition of internationally acclaimed sculptor Deborah Butterfield opens October 1 at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at the University of California, Davis. Deborah Butterfield: P.S. These are not horses brings together key works ranging from the artist’s most recent wildfire sculptures to rarely exhibited pieces, including ceramics she made 50 years ago while studying at UC Davis.
Butterfield is known for equine sculptures crafted from detritus and found materials such as mud, scrap metal, driftwood, and fallen branches. Collected by nearly 90 major public and private institutions throughout the United States, her distinctive work is recognizable to art lovers and travelers alike. This is her first solo museum exhibition in California since 1996.
Deborah Butterfield’s art increasingly advances the urgent concerns of environmental change. During the last decade, her experimentation with materiality has taken new forms, with bodies of work using discarded plastics and wood sourced from wildfires. As we confront a changing environment, now is the time to look again at what Butterfield’s horses can teach us.Rachel Teagle, Founding Director and Curator, Manetti Shrem Museum of Art
With P.S. These are not horses, Butterfield returns to the place she considers her artistic and equine home. She began exploring the form and presence of horses as a student at UC Davis, where she graduated with a BA degree in 1971 and an MFA degree in 1973. The exhibition title, taken from the closing line of a poem by William T. Wiley, Butterfield’s lifelong mentor, emphasizes the sculptor’s commitment to abstraction and her profound investment in material experimentation.
Deborah Butterfield: P.S. These are not horses is on view from October 1, 2023, through June 24, 2024, at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at the University of California, Davis.
For more information and related events, visit manettishrem.org.