Friday, March 11, 2011

Countdown of Biennial Highlights...Luke Butler

Luke Butler, Landing Party II, 2009; Acrylic on canvas;
26 x32 in.; Courtesy of the artist and Silverman Gallery, San Francisco

Biennial Artist: Luke Butler
Christopher Knight of the Los Angeles Times describes Luke Butler's approach to his Enterprise series "like a Pre-Raphaelite consecrating mythic national literature or Benjamin West painting The Death of of General Wolfe in 1770." Butler’s paintings from this series contemplate issues of masculinity and mortality. Using stills taken directly from episodes of Star Trek, Butler carefully and faithfully isolates and captures the sorrow, loss, confusion, and vulnerability of the characteristically heroic male figures in the popular television series.  Yet, while he is drawn to such heroic narratives, he is also skeptical of the notion of the hero’s invulnerability. For him, “the hero must always win, but he must fall first.  Isolating him there, in his cycle of agony, makes for a story that starts in his world and hopefully illuminates ours.”  At every instance of Captain Kirk’s struggle and pain, Butler observes a pantheon of pathos, of noble and virtuous suffering that is simultaneously shallow, absurd, and poignant.  Butler lives and works in San Francisco.

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