52 East 76th Street
New York, NY 10021
February 16, 2017– April 12, 2017
52 East 76th Street
New York, NY 10021
Deborah Butterfield (born 1949) Wall Horse, 1980 Sticks, hay, paper and mud on wire armature
11 ½ x 22 x 3 ½ inches (29.2 x 55.8 x 8.8 cm.)
Creatures Big and Small
The exhibition is a survey of the transformation representational sculpture can take when medium becomes a pivotal part of the subject. Deborah Butterfield and Immi Storrs document animals using a organic approach, Butterfield seeking to create abstract outlines using found wood and other organic material and Storrs, studies the affect blending heavy material like bronze has when paired with wood or modeled like clay. The importance of organic media in these artists’ work aide in the development of themes like life, death, and how we see ourselves in the natural world.
Deborah Butterfield first began creating sculpture in the form of a horse in the 1970’s using mud, clay and sticks. In 1977, she moved to a ranch in Montana and in 1979 began using scrap metal and found steel. For the past decade, she has been making bronze work, cast from “stray, downed pieces of wood.” Butterfield carefully, intuitively, selects the branches and sticks which are used to “draw” her horses. “The lines of the branches do not simply outline the forms of horses, they create the contours through an accumulation of simple or energetic lines that seem to build up from within. This is three-dimensional gesture drawing, and the result is both skeletal and muscular.”  These models or “ghosts” (as the artist refers to them) are then cast, burning the wood away with molten bronze, creating one, unique sculpture to which she then methodically, expertly applies her patina.
Born and raised in San Diego, Deborah Butterfield received her BA and MFA from the University of California, Davis. From the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s, she taught sculpture at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and at Montana State University, Bozeman. Since 1976, she has exhibited extensively with solo shows at the Seattle Art Museum; Dallas Museum of Fine Arts; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Coral Gables; Madison Art Center, WI; San Diego Museum of Art, CA; Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT; The Contemporary Art Museum, Honolulu. HI; Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL; Tucson Museum of Art, NM; and Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ, among others. Her work is included in numerous public collections including the Art Institute of Chicago; The Brooklyn Museum; Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA; Cincinnati Museum; Dallas Museum of Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Walker Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, MN; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
New York-based artist Immi C. Storrs is best known for her powerful but refined sculptures inspired by animals such as horses, sheep, and birds. Storrs portrays these familiar animals in a highly stylized – at times even playful – manner. A versatile sculptor, Storrs creates both indoor and outdoor works, in a variety of sizes and mediums.
Since the early 1970s, Immi Storrs has shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Recent solo exhibition venues include Cambridge Art Association, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Hurlbutt Gallery, Greenwich, Connecticut; and Dillon Gallery, New York. Recent group exhibition venues include The National Academy Museum, New York; Tribeca Fine Arts, New York; and the White House, Washington, D.C.
Immi Storrs has been the recipient of many awards, including the Speyer Prize from the National Academy and the National Sculpture Society prize. She has also received many grants, including from the E. D. Foundation three times. She is a member of several artists’ organizations, including the Century Association, the National Academy Museum, and the Sculptors Guild.
Examples of Immi Storrs’s work can be found in various private and public collections around the country, including the Albany Museum, Albany, Georgia; the Snite Museum, Notre Dame, Indiana; the National Academy Museum, New York; and the National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.