Benjamin Butler was born in 1975 in Kansas, USA. He 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.
Butler continues to exhibit in solo shows in cities around the world, such as New York, Los Angeles, London, Vienna, Basel, and Berlin, and also has been included in various group shows internationally, including PS1/MOMA’s Greater New York in 2005.
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 “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.