Benjamin Butler: Another Tree, Another Forest
Opening: Tuesday, 10 March 2015, 7 pm
Exhibition runs: 11.03.–18.04.2015
Galerie Martin Janda is pleased to announce our third solo show of Benjamin Butler (March 11 – April 18 2015).
“Few representational painters have managed to rid themselves of quite so much representation and still make pictures.” (Roberta Smith, The New York Times)
For a decade, trees and forests have been the starting point for Benjamin Butler’s semi-abstract paintings. Individual, slender trunks – with largely leafless branches – form the structuring element and framework of his paintings while the interstices render the painterly quality of the works and the wide range of colour tones, patterns and painting techniques used by Butler.
Forests and trees serve as themes and have a representative role as well. Butler reduces his motifs to schematic renderings, constructing linear landscapes. The structure of his paintings is characterised by freely and swiftly drawn vertical lines. In combination with short diagonal elements or swooping shapes the artist creates patterns, legible not only as a forest but also as an individual tree.
The abstraction process breaks up the motif of trees or landscapes into fields of colour, shapes and lines. This play with naturalness and artificiality serves as a continuous sounding out and exploration of the boundary between abstraction and representation.
Butler’s vocabulary draws on the complete range of modernist painting, with references ranging from art nouveau, impressionism and pointillism to minimalism, colour-field painting and abstract expressionism.
The focus on a singular motif might appear to be a limitation of pictorial possibilities. For Benjamin Butler, however, the variation of one and the same theme provides a formal liberation which opens up seemingly infinite modulations: “While there is a sense of repetition that exists within my work, when I paint another tree or another forest, I am mostly trying not to repeat myself.” (Benjamin Butler)
Benjamin Butler, born 1975 in Westmoreland (USA), has been living and working in Vienna since 2012.