Visual Arts Program

Friday, March 14, 2014 — Friday, May 2, 2014

Kyle Butler

Mortality Tantrums

Kyle Butler - <em>Mortality Tantrums</em>
Kyle Butler - <em>Mortality Tantrums</em>
Kyle Butler - <em>Mortality Tantrums</em>

Opening Friday, March 14, 2014, 8 to 11 p.m.
Artist's talk Friday, March 14, 2014, 8 p.m.
Exhibition continues through May 2

Across media including drawing, painting, sculpture, video, and performance, the work of Kyle Butler addresses multiple ideas—parallels between the built environment and human behavior with that sphere; the interplay of competing and cooperating systems and the limitations of those systems; fluidity in the face of bureaucracy; and ordered conduct as a remedy to the ambiguity of socialization. Together, these themes share a desire for persistence amid the quiet roar of pathos that often defines our lives and world. To persist despite the siren call of resignation so often heard or sensed. Appropriately, in discussing the work in his new exhibition, Butler refers to these themes as "more mantra than hypothesis," guiding lights to quietly but emphatically resist rising tides of conformity.

Among the work in the show will be large-scale sculpture of an isolated collapsing roof, mid-repair. A familiar site in a Rust Belt environment as houses must be propped up in the face of their impending structural failure. Butler flips the physical equation by sculpting only a portion of such a roof, standing free and recast as an object of stubborn perseverance. Through this inversion, the form immediately takes on the aspect of a proud monumental sculpture, defying all expectations about itself.

This dominant work will be augmented by smaller sculpture in which chain link fence is re-contorted into alternative, systematic forms, its original function undermined—tied down, bent, and formed, there is a suggestion of submission, even within configurations that suggest an act of defiance. As with the roof section, they resist easy categorization and aspire to undercut their superficial meanings.

Also included in the exhibition will be drawings of "patterned catastrophe" that calmly fade into negative space. And a riveting video of a man in the throws of an existential tantrum, yelling at the sea from the comfort of a plush recliner. As Butler says, these are all "musings on and cheap shots at prescribed order, tragedy repeating itself as farce, the ill fit of Camus' Sisyphusian dilemma in quotidian life, and the sublime as convenient scapegoat for just about anything."

Kyle Butler is an artist from Michigan currently living in Buffalo, New York. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a focus in painting from Central Michigan University in 2008 and his Master's degree in Visual Studies from the University at Buffalo in 2010. He has been included in exhibitions at the Albright Knox Art Gallery, The Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo Arts Studio, Hallwalls, Nina Freudenheim Gallery, Exhibit A (Corning, NY), and Lost Coast Culture Machine (Fort Bragg, CA). He has also been featured in New American Paintings (2010), and is in collections including the Albright Knox and The Burchfield Penney Art Center. He is represented by the Nina Freudenheim Gallery, in Buffalo.