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.