Tom Butler | Absentees

Charlie Smith London, 336 Old Street, 2nd Floor, London

When:Event passed!
It was on
Fri 22nd Nov 2013 to
Sat 21st Dec 2013

See more
Art
Where:Charlie Smith London, 336 Old Street, 2nd Floor, London EC1V 9DR
Map:Map & Nearby
Times:11:00 - 18:00
Admission:Free
Picture of Tom Butler | Absentees

About the event

TOM BUTLER

Absentees

Private View
Thursday November 21st 6.30-8.30pm
Sponsored by Jeremiah Weed Kentucky Style Cider Brew

Exhibition Dates
Friday November 22nd – Saturday December 21st 2013

Gallery Hours
Wednesday–Saturday 11am–6pm or by appointment


CHARLIE SMITH london is delighted to present Tom Butler with his first one person exhibition at the gallery, following extremely successful debuts at Volta Basel and THE FUTURE CAN WAIT where he was placed in world class private collections.

Butler is most recognised for his ongoing series of painted calling cards. Used widely from the mid-19th century after the invention of albumen prints by Louis Désiré Blanquart-Evrard, the cabinet card remains a familiar visual object. Butler relentlessly collects these cards and works over the surface in immaculately rendered gouache. His unique and technically consummate approach makes him a leading proponent in this genre.

Balanced delicately between beauty and the grotesque, Butler works seamlessly over the faces of the sitters, where they become overtaken by hair; feathered or mottled surfaces; and more recently bandages or geometric patterns. Occasionally features of the subject remain unpainted, asserting the presence of the subject from beneath some parasitic growth that appears to emanate from within. There are clear allusions to a visualisation of the unconscious where the monstrous becomes apparent. Contemporaneous to the use of cabinet cards were the psychoanalytical theories of Freud and the high point of public interest in freak shows, and Butler recalls these areas of interest simultaneously.

Butler uses the same technique with etchings and postcards. The compositions of these appropriated images are more complex, which encourages the artist to express a macabre sense of humour, revealing a satirical approach towards art historical, religious and domestic scenarios. Throughout, anonymity is forced upon the subjects where the artist denies their identity with the assertion of his own imagination.

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