Paul Butler Still Active
Works in the exhibition
Paul Butler, a multi-disciplinary artist, curator and writer, has been a longstanding figure and important influence on the Canadian art world with a practice focusing around community, collaboration and artist-run activity. Recent works being exhibited in Still Active feature collage created from Artforum gallery advertisements where images and copy are carefully cut from their frames. The accessibility and immediacy of collage allows Butler to recycle what is discarded of mass media to comment on the overwhelming amount of visual information we consume every day. Looking to resources that function as communicators of information and knowledge, Butler exposes these often distant and rigid tastemakers in the commercial art world. The viewer is left with a minimal geometric composition and a newfound creative license to fill these novel empty spaces.
The series What’s Within functions somewhat differently by photographing his figurative collages (created with images taken by Scott Schuman for his now infamous blog The Sartorialist) in order to bring them back into their seductive and easily consumed format of glossy print. Butler uses this process as a critique on our consumption of mass media and how it impacts our ability to see contemporary art beyond a surface aesthetic. Furthermore, Butler has succeeded to surpass any limitations of scale that working in collage may present.
This current body of work draws on Butler’s previous practices: The Collage Party, a touring interactive studio made open to the public; leading Reverse Pedagogy, an experimental residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts; and serving as the inaugural artist-in-residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Today Paul Butler leads as the Curator of Contemporary Art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery where he continues to challenge his identity as an artist and curator. This crossover will allow him to carry on the mission of making contemporary art accessible to a broader audience.
Paul Butler has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Art Gallery of Ontario; White Columns, New York, and the Musée d'art contemporain, Montreal among others. Additionally, he has contributed writings to the book Decentre: Concerning Artist-run Culture, Border Crossings, Canadian Art, and The Life and Times of Bill Callahan.