b.1965 Texas, USA
Former Residence: Iowa City, Iowa, USA
Currently residing in Austin, Texas, R.H. Butler has taught as Adjunct Assistant Professor at The University of Iowa's School of Art & Art History in Iowa City, Iowa, among others, and has been a visiting lecturer at the University of Latvia, in Riga, Latvia. Butler works primarily using a dynamic intermedia approach to art that incorporates traditional & digital media such as printmaking, photography, painting, & video, while he continues to exhibit locally, regionally and internationally in solo, invitational, and juried print, mixed-media, and multimedia exhibitions. His work may be found in the public collections of art organizations & academic institutions both in the U.S. & abroad.
My art is a struggle to communicate those things experienced in the isolation of our souls.
MY WORK IS AN ONGOING AUTOBIOGRAPHY. DREAMS, LEGENDS OF MEXICO AND PERSONAL FANTASIES ARE THE PRINCIPAL SOURCES FOR MY IMAGERY. HOLDING NOSTALGIC IDEAS ABOUT MY PAST. I TRY TO EXPERIENCE THINGS AGAIN THROUGH THE ILLUSIONS I CREATE. I TRY TO TELL A STORY TO ANYBODY WHO WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT.
Lately when I create art it is about getting out of my own head. Letting go of control over the world and planning every minute. It is a kind of meditation that allows my emotions to spill onto the page without being filtered, judged, and edited. I try to let my subconscious direct the process. I like to use organic materials I collect from my yard and on walks. I also use cut paper and found objects in my work. I love that what is essentially a weed can turn into something beautiful on the page and it has given me a new way of looking at the world around me. I have found that art helps me to be more intuitive, creative, and relaxed in all aspects of my life.
I strive for Magritte's basic intention, to make art with a "disturbing poetic effect."Ě My work presents exotic subjects in the drama of black and white, or the subtle monochromatic tones of printers' inks. The prints are based on my photos of real places and slightly mysterious objects that are embraced by a post-apocalyptic anxiety, which induces a state of psychological unease in the viewer. The images raise questions, but knowing the back story doesn't necessarily provide comfort. The result is by turns intimate, earthy, fragile, universal, and contemporary. The images are full of the organic subtlety showing the naked beauty of weathered rock and plants, contrasted with man-made architectural elements. The organic elements complement the man-made. In purely aesthetic terms, the works use an interplay of tones and textures, with formal qualities of composition in the arrangements of objects under the viewer's gaze. The unfamiliar induces a state of ambiguity mixed with a strange longing or nostalgia. The camera captures temporal events, figurative and narrative, fragments in the cycle of life and death. History is revealed in multiple layers with an underlying order and inherent drama exposed in contrast and detail, painterly and sculptural at the same time.
I was living in New Mexico when a fortuitous requirement of printmaking coursework for my graduate program in art therapy led me to expression in another medium. Since that time I have been exploring printmaking and creating soft ethereal-like inspirational images. The circle or circular movement can often be seen in my artwork. The circle is a universal symbol with extensive meaning--a continuous symbol that has no beginning and no end. Throughout my life I have created circles, benefiting from the sense of comfort, peace, and total integration.
How I feel when I am making art is perfectly described in what Don Miguel Ruiz says: "When you are in your creation and you are doing what you love to do, you become what you really are again. You are not thinking in that moment; you are expressing.Ē I love being in that space where I am not really thinking, I am expressing what I am feeling inside. One could say that I make art to please the eye and touch the soul.
My art is a gift from my Father. I am blessed beyond measure. It is indeed a part of who I am.
Experimentation with various mediums and the manipulation of those mediums is a driving force which provides interesting puzzles in need of solving. When I am in that place...experimenting and trying to solve that puzzle...I am joy filled.
I also like to work in series. It is freedom giving. Some series never make it past the first in the series, but had their beginning with a series in mind. Series tend to allow for building. A new concept is not needed each time I approach a blank paper or canvas. There is already something their awaiting to be built upon.
Figurative work, always a passion, has become the focus of this recent body of work. Combined with mythology, the use of symbols and mythological creatures such as mermaids, I create a classical context for contemporary treatments of the figure.
I am drawn to many aspects of printmaking. Iíve always liked texture and variety of printmaking papers, the smell and colors of the inks, and the fact that you can do multiples. There is something about the transformation that happens from the plate to the paper and the effects you can get thatís just magical.
To dream is to visualize... To communicate and share what you visualize is to expand the horizons of others. To grow is to experience and live. Failure to share,to experience, and to live is loss of visions and dreams.
3/29/2007 - 12/1/2008
University of Phoenix
Chair: Marcela Kourkova
The deadline for this event (3/29/2008) has passed.