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Sharon Butler | Paintings

A selection of stream-of-consciousness easel-sized oil paintings.

On view October 12 – October 25 , 2015
EBK Gallery [small works].
218 Pearl St.
Hartford, CT

Reception: Saturday, October 17, 6-8pm. 

Image at top: Sharon Butler, Back Fat, 2015, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches.

Invitations for upcoming events: Minneapolis, St. Paul, Hartford, Greensboro

I have a few upcoming events in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Hartford, and Greensboro that I'd like to tell readers about. I hope you can join me if you are nearby.

 On September 30, 6pm, at the Burnet Gallery, in Minneapolis, I'll be having a public conversation with Sharon Louden, artist and editor of the popular book of artists' essays, Living and Sustaining a Creative Life. Sharon (Louden) has organized a whirlwind tour of the Twin Cities for me, including a visit to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where she is part-time faculty and an MFA mentor, and a presentation there at 1pm. It's free and open to the public, so if you're in Minneapolis, please join us. The next day, after visiting students' studios at MCAD, Sharon and I will have another conversation, at 6pm, in St. Paul at Golden’s Deli in conjunction with Springboard for The Arts. Believe it or not, I've never been to Minnesota, so I'm looking forward to this trip. Big thanks to Sharon for bringing me out there!

In October, I'll be presenting some new work (see image at top) in a brief solo show at the progressive EBK Gallery at 218 Pearl Street in downtown Hartford, Connecticut. The Wadsworth Atheneum is just a few blocks away, so I'm eager to see its galleries, recently reopened after a major overhaul. My show at EBK runs only from October 12 through October 20, and we'll have a reception on Saturday, October 17. Look for details on the EBK website. (Note that artist digital artist Carla Gannis has the slot after mine.) With luck I'll encounter a few from the old Connecticut crowd.

I'll also be in Greensboro, North Carolina, in October visiting the Department of Art at the University of North Carolina. On Friday, October 15, at 6pm, I'll be at the university's Weatherspoon Art Museum for "Building on Maud Gatewood's Legacy: Place and Being an Artist," participating in a conversation with Brett Baker (publisher of Painters' Table). Gatewood, who died in 2004, was an important member of the North Carolina arts community, and the museum has mounted a selection of her work, much of it borrowed from nearby museums. I'm hoping to learn more about the contemporary art community in North Carolina, so if you are down that way, please join us.

 Image at top: On view at EBK Gallery in October: Sharon Butler, Cybercave, 2015, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches.

"Slow Enhancers" at Platform in Seattle

Rober Yoder, artist and director of SEASON, a gallery he runs out of a beautiful mid-century modern house in Seattle, has taken over Platform Gallery this month to present a summer group show called "Slow Enhancers." The exhibition includes a couple of my paintings alongside work by ten other artists who are engaged with conceptual content but dedicated to traditional materials--paint, stone, collage. If you are in the Northwest, I hope you'll stop in and check out the exhibition.

From the Press release:

There's a memory of something like a tongue or a candy wrapper and I chased it. I thought I'd see things if I looked but I couldn't. I thought I'd see through things if I looked harder but I still couldn't. I got jammed up on some duffer and dope and for some reason I'm lying face down on a beach with both hands in my left pocket. The waves are crashing near me, only I don't know where they are. I'm too weak and unconcerned to look up. I wonder if I open my eyes now I'll see the center of the Earth but I don't dare. That kind of knowledge would be a dream and I have stopped having dreams.

Artists include Sharon Butler, Calvin Ross Carl, Dawn Cerny, Seth David Friedman, Nicola Ginzel, Cable Griffith, Mary Henry, Juliet Jacobson, Christopher Moss, Anthony Palocci Jr, Marius Wilms

"Slow Enhancers," organized by Robert Yoder. Platform Gallery 114 Third Avenue South, Seattle, Washington. The show runs through August 29, 2015.

For images of the show, click here.

Image at top: Marius Wilms (left), Christopher Moss (right), Sharon Butler (bottom). Installation view.

Artists as Curators

STAMFORD, CT –  Artists chosen as curators for Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery's "Thank You, Connecticut" exhibition are Rex Prescott Walden, Shelby Head, Nathan Lewis, Joe Boginski, and James Gortner.

Artists selected for exhibition include: Sharon Butler, Hollis Dunlap, Jaclyn Conley, Camille Eskell, Steven DiGiovanni, Jonathan Waters, Molly McDonald, Scott Paterson, George Phelps, Roland Becerra, Connie Pfeiffer, and Charles Macalvayne.

About the Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery

The Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery opened in December 2009 in Stamford, Connecticut. Its mission is to build artists’ careers from the doors in and to build community from the doors out. It specializes in international emerging artists, as well as important secondary market works and estate collections. In just five short years, the gallery has been awarded citations from the Connecticut General Assembly and from U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal. In 2015, the gallery became the official sponsor of the Joseph Kosuth exhibition, ni apparence ni illusion, at the Louvre. Current artists exhibiting in the gallery include Richard Diebenkorn, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Longo, Louise Fishman, Frank Stella, Robert Motherwell, Jim Dine, Sean Scully, Jacqueline Humphries, Arturo Di Modica, Jena Thomas, John J. Bedoya, Rex Prescott Walden, Kirsten Reynolds, Damla T. Faro, Evelin Velásquez, Shelby Head, and Nathan Lewis.

Dates: August 1 through September 5, 2015
Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery
96 Bedford Street, Stamford, CT 06901
Our hours are Monday: by appointment
Tues. - Sat.: 11 AM - 6 PM
Sunday: closed

Image at Top: Sharon Butler, Blue Alloy, 2015, oil and t-shirt scraps on canvas, 16 x 20 inches.

Yaddo Residency in July

This summer I'll be spending nearly four weeks at Yaddo, the fabled artists' community in Saratoga Springs, New York. Twenty-three artists and writers will be in residence at the bucolic 400-acre estate that was founded in 1900 by financier Spencer Trask and his wife Katrina, a poet.  I look forward to working on a new artist's book project and to continuing work on a series of 16 x 20-inch oil paintings on stretched canvas. (Note: Four paintings from the series are still on view in "VERNACULAR" at Theodore:Art. You can check it out through July 19 if you haven't seen the show yet.) I am enormously grateful to those who have helped make this residency possible--you know who you are.

"Vernacular" at Theodore opens May 31

VERNACULAR: Eric Brown, Sharon Butler, Joyce Robins, Andrew Seto
@ Theodore:ART
56 Bogart Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY
RECEPTION Sunday May 31, 3-6 PM
May 31 – July 12, 2015

For more information and images, please contact Stephanie Theodore at 212 966 4324 or

Image above: Sharon Butler, Untitled, 2015, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches.

Press release:
Theodore:Art is pleased to present VERNACULAR, a four-person exhibition of work composed of simple shapes that aggregate into subtle, complex two-dimensional creations.

After painting in upstate New York for more than a decade, Eric Brown recently moved his studio practice to New York City, where these new works were completed. He studied studio art at Vassar College, and his work will be the subject of an exhibition at the James W. Palmer III Gallery at Vassar College opening in late August. An exhibition catalogue with an appreciation by John Ashbery and an essay by Raphael Rubinstein will accompany the exhibition.

A painter and arts writer, Sharon Butler is widely known as the publisher of the influential art blog Two Coats of Paint, which was awarded a generous grant from the Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program last year. She is affiliated with the MFA programs at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the University of Connecticut, where she was also the 2014 Artist in Residence at Counterproof Press. Her work has been shown at various galleries, universities, and art fairs throughout the country, including NADA New York, Theodore:Art, Storefront Ten Eyck, Pocket Utopia, Union College (Schenectady, NY), Real Art Ways (Hartford, CT), SEASON (Seattle, WA), George Lawson (San Francisco, CA), and Matteawan (Beacon, NY). As one of the inaugural participants in the Two Trees Cultural Space Subsidy Program, Butler maintains a studio in DUMBO overlooking the Manhattan Bridge.

Joyce Robins has had over 20 one-person shows of her artwork. Her work was the subject of a mid-career survey at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery of the University of the Arts, Philadelphia in 2013, and was also exhibited in Come Together, Surviving Sandy, Brooklyn (2013), John Davis Gallery (2012), the Biennale International de Vallauris in France; the Neiman Gallery of Columbia University, PS 1, Meulenstein Gallery, the New York Studio School, and the Jane Hartsook Gallery (all New York); David Weinberg Gallery, Chicago; Rebecca Ibel Gallery, Columbus, Ohio; and the Schoolhouse Center, Provincetown, MA. In addition her work has been seen in many group shows at galleries and museums, including, The National Academy of Design, Lesley Heller Gallery, Edward Thorp Gallery (both New York), Rubicon Gallery (Dublin), The Brooklyn Museum, The Gasworks (London), The Delaware Art Museum, Vassar College Art Gallery, Pierogi Gallery, Pewabic Pottery (Detroit) and the Lennon Weinberg Gallery. Robins work has been written about in The New York Times, Art in America, Artforum, The Brooklyn Rail, The Village Voice, The Nation, The New York Observer, The Philadelphia Inquirer and American Ceramics.

Andrew Seto studied Law at the University of Birmingham (LLB 1987), Foundation Course in Art and Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London (1988), Fine Art at the Slade School, University College London (BA 1992), UK, EU and US Law of Copyright at Kings College London (PG Dip 2001) and Enterprise and Management for the Creative Arts at the University of the Arts London (MA 2007). At the Slade he won the Coldstream Prize and a scholarship to the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture (1990-91). His most recent solo exhibition was at Galerie Vidal Saint Phalle in Paris (2015), and has had solo shows at Theodore:Art, Brooklyn and Charlie Dutton Gallery (both 2013). He has been selected for numerous group shows including The Whitechapel Open (Whitechapel Gallery, London, 1994), Three (Theodore:Art, New York, 2011), SV12 (Studio Voltaire, London, 2012), There Are No Giants Upstairs (Theodore:Art, New York, 2012) and The Creekside Open (APT Gallery, London, 2013). Seto was shortlisted for The Jerwood Drawing Prize (2010), The John Moores Painting Prize (2012) and The Marmite Prize for Painting IV (2013). He is the recipient of the solo show award from The Crash Open Salon at Charlie Dutton Gallery, London (2013).

SOLO SHOW at Matteawan, opens Saturday, May 9

Sharon Butler : New Social Situations
Matteawan Gallery
May 9 – June 7, 2015

Opening reception Saturday, May 9, 6-9 pm

From the Press Release:
Matteawan is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by Sharon Butler, an artist and writer based in New York City. The show features paintings and mixed media works on canvas.

Sharon Butler’s art is influenced by the world around her, taking inspiration from things both serious and mundane. The images in her work come from many disparate sources, from a kid’s camp T-shirt, to sculptures in the National Gallery, an industrial air conditioner, or a pile of sweaters in a store. Butler isolates shapes, colors, and objects, arranging them on empty canvas supports, creating ambiguous and ironic images that evoke a make-something-from-nothing aesthetic. Offering a fresh take on geometric abstraction, Butler combines images, jumbled text, pattern, and brightly colored shapes cut from found T-shirts, sometimes sheared into cheeky fringe. The construction of her work, loose and intentionally slapdash, calls attention to the support and the materials as much as to the image. Butler’s work rejects traditional painterly illusion and depth and embraces real-ness, inhabiting space in a way more akin to sculpture.

In an interview with Thomas Micchelli in Hyperallergic, Butler said of her work: “I guess what interests me are the metaphorical possibilities of lethargy, bad decisions, mistake-making, and turning things inside out as reflected in a painting. From these things, I reckon there is quite a bit to infer about not merely how we perceive the world but how we live in it.” Agnes Martin, a small painting on canvas featuring a painted white square and a series of horizontal pencil lines, is a good example of this. In Butler’s interpretation of Martin’s pristine geometry, the canvas is stretched all wrong, exposing the wooden stretcher on the top with fabric bunched up below. Butler is paying homage to an artist she admires, while at the same time doing it her own way.

Matteawan Gallery
464 Main Street
Beacon, NY 12508

Image at top:
Sharon Butler, Untitled (Camp Sloan), 2014, t-shirt scraps, pencil on canvas, 24 x 18 inches.

First gathering in the new studio: IMPROVISED SHOWBOAT

Improvised Showboat is a curatorial venture from Lauren Britton + Zachary Keeting. "We organize one-night studio exhibitions in and around New York. Our shows are improvised in their nature: we ask the exhibiting artists to bring a work of their choosing, rather than curating specific works. We find this allows for surprises in the process: for the artist, the viewer and for us as curators. We hope this series of shows acts as a catalyst for unexpected conversation and viewing. Our seventh exhibition, COMMAND-Z, is curated with Sharon Butler and will take place at her studio/Two Coats of Paint HQ in DUMBO." 

55 Washington Street #321 in DUMBO
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Saturday May 2nd / 6-8PM

Artists include: Lisa Beck, Peter Burr, Sharon Butler, Jacob Feige, Andrew Ginzel, Erin O’Keefe, Heather Leigh McPherson, Carrie Pollock, Tim Portlock, Siebren Versteeg, Alexi Worth, Raphael Zollinger

Image at top: Looking west from 55 Washinton St.

Please join me for the ArtCritical Review Panel on Friday, April 17

Ill be joining David Cohen, John Yau, and Noah Dillon to discuss the New Museum's Triennial and the Invitational at the American Academy of Arts and Letters at The Review Panel, a popular critics’ forum, now in its tenth year at the National Academy Museum.

From the press release:

The two shows are a contrast of medium proclivity: while new technologies predominate at the Triennial, an international survey of early-career artists filling all floors of the New Museum’s Bowery headquarters, the Invitational has a bias towards painting and artists of all career stages. The Triennial has been curated by Lauren Cornell of the New Museum and artist Ryan Trecartin while the Invitational is selected by a committee of academicians.

John Yau, the eminent poet and respected critic, has been a regular guest of The Review Panel. Our other two speakers are newcomers: Sharon Butler is the veteran blogger at Two Coats of Paint, while Noah Dillon has been Associate Editor at since last summer.

Free and open to the public.

Time: 6:30 pm

The National Academy Museum
1083 5th Avenue at 89th Street
New York, NY

To make a reservation, please call 212-369-4880 x 201

The Painter of Modern Life, command-z, and the resurgence of abstraction

I recently wrote a new post about the Internet and how it has affected painting.

"The Internet, especially through social media, facilitates a direct and immediate connection between interior and exterior worlds, and I have little doubt that this recent phenomenon has helped propel the current resurgence of abstract painting. MoMA’s Laura Hoptman-curated contemporary painting survey “The Forever Now” showcases artists who comb the Internet for styles both past and present to ape, reference, and revere. In contrast, “The Painter of Modern Life,” a group show organized by Bob Nickas at Anton Kern, is a visual essay that seems to focus directly on the mind space created when we are on the Internet. Many of the artists in this show may still refer to art historical-materials found on the web, but what makes their work so distinctive is their effort to visualize how it feels to spend so much time in a virtual world..."

Click here to read the entire post.

NOTE: Parts of the post are taken from a statement I'm crafting about some new paintings, one of which is pictured above. The ideas will also be teased out in a curated one-night group exhibition with Improvised Showboat. The exhibition is Saturday, May 2 at Two Coats HQ, 55 Washington Street in DUMBO. Details to come.

Image above: Sharon Butler, Vague Recollection, 2015, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches.

Paintings From Paris @ MAKEBISH

Opens Friday, November 14, 6pm. More info here.
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