Art Around Columbia: Steel stallions


Untitled Horse Sculpture

Isabel Gompper

Driving down Stadium, you are surrounded by cars, traffic lights and the Columbia mall, but both hidden and also in clear view are  the untitled Horse sculptures. The artwork consists of 11 horses grazing and resting in front of the art supplies store, Michaels, and Landmark Bank. This piece was created by Doug Owen, an artist who lives and works in Colorado but was born in South Dakota. He has many similar horse installations across the country ; they are usually placed in natural settings.
I love this piece! The artwork really captures the herd nature of horses, and each individual sculpture has unique differences that are so lifelike or so similar to real horse expression, position and behavior. When looking at these sculptures, it almost seems to be a real setting of wild horses. And because they are in a healthy and well-cared for patch of green grass, the scene imitates a real life scene of a herd.
As someone that has grown up in Columbia, this artwork has become a constant sighting in my everyday life. When I was a child,I used to think that these sculptures were actually real horses and would imagine myself riding them. This installation sparks wonderful imagination and curiosity for those who see it. It is also visually appealing with the structure and environment it creates.
When you look closer at this piece, you can see that the colorful horses are made up of rusting car parts, old signs, bent up licence plates and twisting wires, which hold the pieces together. The artist has bent the metal and wrapped the wires to make every horse different. Some are created to look like they are laying down, and others have their necks bent to appear as if they are eating grass. Others are looking around, seemingly aware of their environment. The horses also vary in size and shape; some of them appear to be young foals. From the artist’s personal website, I learned that some people find his pieces ironic because the horses are made from car parts, which is what replaced horses as a means of travel. I don’t know if this is what the Artist intended when he choose to use car parts to make his sculptures, but it definitely makes you wonder .  
After asking my friends on their opinions on the piece, I was shocked to find that some people really dislike it. They said they felt like the art sculpture is almost out of place. After hearing this point of view,I can understand what they are saying. It is a piece about nature smack dab in the middle of a congested area. These sculptures are a bit awkward in its location, but because it is something you see every-time you drive down Stadium, the sculpture becomes a normal appearance and has a calming effect in the heavy traffic area. I think these sculptures break up the human-dominated location and remind us of the calming nature of wildlife and a natural environment.