Monday, February 25, 2013

Sharon Butler: Precisionist Casual at Pocket Utopia

By Pocket Utopia's entrance, right: small beauties. The exhibition title conflates the precisionist approach of early modernist painters such as Charles Sheeler with a recent focus on (de) material and (non) finish, in what Butler dubbed New Casualist.
Finish becomes a gestalt of the whole, bringing all elements into play, those surrounding as well as in the work. The ruddy, exposed stretchers against cool-hued shapes and linen create a frisson between texture and material. The bottom thread of the canvas became a gorgeous, pivotal element offsetting the weave, geometric elements and color blocks in this painting.
A view of the show for scale and sequence. Note wrinkled edges--becoming formal elements within the work.
Definitions of finish and painting are challenged within a simple decision to stretch or not stretch canvas.

More color-in-material. Butler's signature is included as a visual element.

More traditional than others but smoky and beautiful.

Metallic paint and staining. Immersed in historical and contemporary applications of pouring paint,
I can't help but love this one for its lightness and historical referent. Recently Stephen Maine attributed staining paint to both James Brooks and Helen Frankenthaler. Staining engages the fusion of surface and ground, sought after in late modernist painting. Butler's painting adds urban concerns such as graffiti, sealer and the industrial shapes one espies on a rooftop.

The corners feel nearly overdone yet without them, would the painting address the same issues?

Butler's exhibition is also featured elsewhere:
Joanne Mattera
Thomas Micchelli for Hyperallergic

Congratulations, Sharon Butler!

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