A sum of its parts
October 6, 2005
From a distance, Martin McGowan’s “Horse #5” looks like a metal monolith guarding the entrance of Wildhorse Marketplace. But a closer examination reveals a thousand welded parts, pieced together during 2 1/2 years into the shape of a horse.
The 12-by-12 foot horse is made of found metal objects and fabricated steel that was heated, cut and bent to make one form.
The nose is made from a jackhammer bit.
“Someone from a street construction crew had left it in the gutter,” McGowan said. “I kept it for years before I found a place for it.”
The mane and the tail are made of pieces of farm machinery. The tongue is a towing hitch from a large truck.
The completed piece weighs 6,000 pounds and came to Steamboat from the artist’s home in Newark, Vt., on the back of a double-drop lowboy trailer.
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“Horse #5” is the fifth in a series of large-scale, found-object welded horses created by McGowan, each one bigger than the last. Another horse in the series was purchased in 1999 for the entrance of the Iron Horse Homes development in Grand Junction. The others are in private art collections in and around Philadelphia.
McGowan already is at work on a sixth horse sculpture, which he promises will be bigger than the one in Steamboat Springs. He imagines it rearing up on its hind legs.
“I’ve always loved horses,” McGowan said. “I drew them all the time as a child. I guess I still do.”