Contributed by Sharon Butler / This Saturday, May 9, please join me for the opening of “New Social Situations,” my solo show at Karlyn Benson’s Matteawan Gallery in Beacon, NY. The show features small work from the past few years–from the time I was subletting space at the Elizabeth Foundation through paintings made in DUMBO this past year. I haven’t spent much time in Beacon since I was a resident at Simon Draper’s Habitat for Artists, so I look forward to returning this month. Beacon is perhaps best known as the home of Dia:Beacon, a massive art complex situated in a former cracker factory where Minimalist work by all the heavy hitters–Sol Lewitt, Richard Serra, Fred Sandback and so forth–are on permanent display, but there is more to see. Karlyn has graciously put together a list of other things going on in Beacon.
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.
Image at top: Sharon Butler, Untitled (Camp Sloan), 2014, t-shirt scraps, pencil on canvas, 24 x 18 inches.
“Sharon Butler: New Social Situations,” Matteawan Gallery, 464 Main Street, Beacon, NY. May 9 – June 7, 2015. Contact: email@example.com / 845-440-7901 / Metro North goes to Beacon from Grand Central–a beautiful ride up the Hudson River.
Last chance: Summer shows in Hudson and Beacon (2014)
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