Benjamin Butler’s ‘Recent Trees and Monochromes’ at Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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Benjamin Butler’s ‘Recent Trees and Monochromes’ at Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna

“Yellow (Landscape),” 2018, by Benjamin Butler (1975, Kansas), Oil on linen, 50 x 60 cm, Photo: Anna Konrath, Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna
(Courtesy: Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna)

Galerie Martin Janda is hosting Benjamin Butler’s fourth solo show at the gallery titled “Recent Trees and Monochromes” on view through June 2 at the gallery’s Vienna venue.

Benjamin Butler has repeatedly used trees as a conceptual and visual trope that has continued to advance and evolve over the past fifteen years. For this exhibition, Butler’s trees are represented as solitary and isolated figures with simplified fields of color surrounding them. Butler has incorporated the languages of modernism and psychedelia with the intention of extending the visual boundaries of his motif but all the while he kept an eye towards the modesty of folk art and the ubiquity of Pop. Butler’s trees can be viewed as individual paintings, fragments of a forest, works in dialogue within an installation, or as part of the artist’s larger, long-term project,” writes the gallery.

The gallery adds, “For his first solo exhibition in 2002, Butler took the cue from easel-sized landscape painting and banal scenic imagery. For his new ‘monochrome’ paintings, Butler has drawn, again, on these early characteristics of his work. In comparison to Butler’s paintings in the past that have mostly offered a view of abstraction as seen through trees and branches, these single-color paintings function in the reverse. They offer, instead, a zoomed-out view of a somewhat distant landscape through the lens or filter of an abstract monochrome painting. These paintings combine aspects of two separate genres —  Landscape Painting and Minimalism. Figure/ground relationships (underpainting and overpainting), various modes of abstraction, and a fusion of positive and negative imagery, conjure up contemplative and glowing images.”

The disarming familiarity of Butler’s pictures mask their conceptual intricacy. Through self-imposed limitations, Butler continuously reinvents his painting practice as he moves from one landscape to the next. The systematic process within Butler’s paintings runs parallel to their pictorial beauty, weighing painterly language against conceptual restraint.

Benjamin Butler creates paintings combining various modes of abstraction and figuration, and evokes associations with art movements such as Impressionism, Classical Modernism, Pop Art and Minimal Art which are characterized by simplified forms, solid colors, broad brushstrokes, and motifs of mountains and trees. Since 2001, his works have become increasingly abstract, focusing on rhythmic and geometric forms reminiscent of Frank Stella and Robert Ryman.

The exhibition is on view through June 2, 2018 at Galerie Martin Janda, Eschenbachgasse 11- 1010 Vienna, Austria.

For details, visit:

Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the exhibition.              

Founder Louise Blouin