Pieces of art that make one reflect where one fits into the larger puzzle of life always amaze me. This sculpture of a draft horse called ‘Black Hawk’ by John Lopez pulls me into thought about farming before tractors and what everyday life must have been like. Today, I live in a farming community, surrounded by other farming communities…There are farms for as far as the eye can see, with some tiny lights way off in the distance at night (which I think is Peace River, AB?), but there are hardly any horses. Definitely not for work, most of the horses do not have jobs they are needed for; just maybe a couple here or there for the grandkids to play with. This horse is built with the pieces that made up its demise. Oh, how farming has changed. Have we changed?
John Lopez notes,
The piece is intended both as an homage to these tireless beasts of burden, and an artistic expression of the history of agriculture.
Please visit John Lopez’s site to see more great sculptures. Here is also a link to his latest video that gave me a laugh, on ‘New Help in the Shop’. It’s always neat to see how artists work and their workshops. Thanks John!
Sculptor John Lopez is a product of a place. His people’s ranches are scattered along the Grand River in northwestern South Dakota—not far from where Sitting Bull was born and died. Not far from where thousands of buffalo were killed during the westward expansion of settlers and gold miners. In the bone yards of Tyrannosaurus rex and grizzly bears. Since farmers and ranchers populated this chunk of reservation land, real cowboys have been roping and branding and sheering and haying and harvesting.
John’s own forte lies in gentling colts and perfecting their bloodlines—and he started his celebration of them by sculpting in clay. Capturing every nuance, every muscle, in this land where business is still conducted over a cup of coffee and “neighboring” is a way of life. Somehow that way of life—where times seems to have stood still—has seen the transition from horsepower to vehicles. The rusted carcasses of discarded equipment stand testament to generations of labor. And the man who knows blood lines has picked through them, choosing the elements of the past—the actual implements that plowed the soil or cut the grain or dug the dinosaur—and created the curve of a jaw, the twitch of a tail, the power of a shoulder. Join John on a tour of kitchens and scrap piles, barns and grain elevators, cemeteries and workshops—hosted by the people of the prairie. Meet Uncle Geno and brother-in-law Stuart, and scrap collectors from near and far. Listen carefully. There’s a story in the wind.