BENJAMIN BUTLER

Benjamin Butler Leafless Trees and Sakura

Installation view from “Leafless Trees and Sakura” at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2007 ©Benjamin Butler photo by Tsuyoshi Satoh

Introduction

Benjamin’s works commonly features landscapes with some contemporary meaning . The way he paints sometimes looks conspicuously like that of abstract art, though he chooses the nature as his main motif. The paintings represent the imagined scenery — at the same time, the composition operated as decorative geometrical pattern gives viewers calm, meditative time.
His recent works with the trees are filled with more abstract elements. The rhythmical repeat of the line and color field covers all surface of tableau. We can even find the history of abstract expressionism, starting from the rhythm of horizontal and vertical by Piet Mondrian, moving to enthusiasm for “all over” by Color Field painters, and finally more restricted shape by Frank Stella. Meanwhile, the pale color is sometimes like psychedelia, and the flat, plain stroke reminds us of the present progressive New Painting like Alex Katz.

Concept

Tracing the boundary between abstract and narrative, Benjamin still works upon our feelings and memories. The installation is also unique — this time new works, six paintings and dimensional installation will be displayed. You can see the Sakura (cherry blossom) tree painting on far wall, with pale fuchsia mass as full bloom cherry blanches, and the blue-backed decorative trees ones surrounding Sakura like a mysterious labyrinth. The small cut canvases are scattered like the flower petals on the stage. Visitors to the exhibition are encouraged to take petals home with them. We hope that you will enjoy this opportunity to see Benjamin Butler’s latest enchantment.

Artist Biography

Benjamin Butler was born in Kansas, in 1975. After graduated Emporia State University, Kansas in 1997, he received a Masters degree in Fine Art from The School of Art Institute Chicago in 2000. Now he is based in New York. This exhibition marks his second exhibition at Tomio Koyama Gallery in four years, while he keeps on having solo shows in several cities around the world, such as New York, Los Angels, Toronto, Vienna, Basel and Berlin. He has also participated in various group exhibitions — recent group show was “Greater New York”, held at P.S.1. in New York, in 2005.

Artist Profile

Benjamin Butler

Born in Westmoreland, Kansas, USA, Benjamin Butler currently lives and works in Vienna, Austria.
Butler is well known for his paintings of landscapes and trees that exist on the boundary between representation and abstraction. Simplified forms, contrasting colors, and varying marks and brushstrokes evoke the early work of Piet Mondrian, and the American Abstraction of Frank Stella and Barnett Newman. At the same time, however, Butler’s works have a depth which allows us to transcend such art historical categorizations of definition and genre, and also to consider them in a contemporary context. Although his paintings use motifs found in nature, the favored subject of many artists, Butler is equally, or more, inspired by the language of abstract painting. Through recycling this language, he repeatedly reinvents his subject matters with new and surprising results. These works seemingly trace the boundary lines between representation and abstraction, while containing such a multiplicity of elements as to possess both a poetic tenderness and, at the same time, there is an air of contemporary ‘cool’ to them. As though appealing to individual memories, they confer upon viewers a time for calm contemplation.

Butler continues to exhibit in solo shows in cities around the world, such as New York, Los Angeles, London, Vienna, Basel, and Berlin. Significant solo exhibitions in recent years include “Green Forest” (Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, New York, 2014), “Another Tree, Another Forest” (Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna, 2015) and “Trees Alone” (Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2016). He has also participated in various group exhibitions, internationally, including PS1/MOMA’s Greater New York in 2005.

  • Installation view from “Leafless Trees and Sakura” at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2007 ©Benjamin Butler photo by Tsuyoshi Satoh
  • Installation view from “Leafless Trees and Sakura” at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2007 ©Benjamin Butler photo by Tsuyoshi Satoh
  • Installation view from “Leafless Trees and Sakura” at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2007 ©Benjamin Butler photo by Tsuyoshi Satoh