“Paintings and Drawings 2010”

Untitled (Blue,Green,Brown) 2010 oil on linen 182 × 259 cm ©Benjamin Butler


Tomio Koyama Gallery is pleased to announce Benjamin Butler: Paintings and Drawings 2010, the artist’s third solo show with the gallery. These new works were made during the artist’s recent stay in Kamakura, Tokyo, and Nikko. This is the first opportunity for the gallery to juxtapose the artist’s paintings with their accompanying works on paper.


Benjamin Butler is well-known for his paintings of landscapes and trees that trace the boundary between representation and abstraction. In these new works, Butler further deconstructs the tree motif, moving deeper into abstract territory. Simplified forms, contrasting color, and varying marks and brushstrokes evoke the work of Piet Mondrian; the American Abstraction of Arthur Dove and Milton Avery; as well as the painting of Frank Stella and Barnett Newman. By combining such reference points with elements of decorative art and kitsch, Butler offers a unique meditation on contemporary painting.

Artist Biography

Benjamin Butler was born in Westmoreland, Kansas, in 1975. After graduating from Emporia State University (Kansas), in 1997, he received a Masters degree in Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, in 2000. His most recent solo shows were at Galerie Martin Janda (Vienna), Lora Reynolds Gallery (Austin, Texas), Galerie Michael Zink (Berlin), and Karyn Lovegrove Gallery (Los Angeles). He has been included in various group shows, internationally, including PS1/MOMA’s Greater New York 2005. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Artist Profile

Benjamin Butler

Benjamin Butler was born in Westmoreland, Kansas, USA in 1975. He received an MFA in painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2000 and currently lives and works in Vienna, Austria.

Butler continues to exhibit in solo shows in cities around the world, such as New York, Los Angeles, London, Vienna, Basel, Beijing, and Berlin. Significant solo exhibitions in recent years include “Two-Tones, Monochromes, and Other Landscapes”(Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2020), “Silver/Landscapes” (Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, New York, 2019), “Recent Trees and Monochromes” (Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna, 2018) and “Trees Alone” (Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2016). He has also participated in various group exhibitions, internationally, including “sotto voce” (curated by Robert Bordo, Bortolami Gallery, New York, 2019), “Verzweigt” (Museum Sinclair-Haus, Bad Homburg, Germany, 2014), and PS1/MOMA’s Greater New York in 2005, and “Globe as a Palette; Contemporary Art from The Taguchi Art Collection” Hokkaido Obihiro Museum of Art/Kushiro Art Museum/Hakodate Museum of Art/Sapporo Art Museum, Hokkaido, Japan.

Butler creates landscape paintings that are structured around the motifs of mountains, trees and nature. The simplified forms of branches and tree trunks expressed through vertical lines, diagonals, triangular forms and curves are rhythmically reiterated and occupy the entirety of his margin-less canvases in a manner reminiscent of a geometric pattern. Such are complemented through his use of vivid contrasting colors, creating a unique painterly expression that appears to explore the borderline between representation and abstraction.

His works, while harboring various elements in terms of composition, at the same time permeate with a simple and poetic tenderness, as well as an air of contemporary cool. As though appealing to individual memories, they confer upon viewers a time for calm contemplation.

  • Installation view from “Paintings and Drawings 2010” at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2010 ©Benjamin Butler photo by Tsuyoshi Satoh
  • Installation view from "Paintings and Drawings 2010" at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, 2010 ©Benjamin Butler photo by Tsuyoshi Satoh
  • Installation view from "Paintings and Drawings 2010" at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, 2010 ©Benjamin Butler photo by Tsuyoshi Satoh