SHOWS > PAST > In Color and Black and White

Luke Butler   


In Color and Black and White
May 31 - July 19, 2014

Artist's Reception: May 31, 2014, 7-10pm


Show Catalog (pdf, 1.12 Mb)

Charlie James Gallery is proud to present a solo exhibition by Bay Area artist Luke Butler on view from May 31 to July 19. Luke will be showing paintings from two distinct bodies of work for his first showing with the gallery.

In Luke’s series aptly titled “The End”, Luke paints THE END as a figure in a landscape. Removed from its narrative role, it is both familiar and strange. As a static image, it seems contradictory, absurd, and poignant – an anti-picture. Its message strays, becoming evocative rather than declarative, no longer an exit, but a memento mori.

If THE END turns the actual landscape legendary and evanescent, Luke’s other works draw humanity out of iconic television figures. Using imagery from the 1970s, these works emphasize vulnerability, sorrow, ambiguity – things more commonly seen outside the tidy world of televised narrative. In paint, on canvas, frozen in mid-gesture, men of action become figures of pathos. They have somewhat the appearance of religious painting. Television was an indelible and impactful presence in Luke’s young life. Insinuating its legendary figures into a larger picture of mythology is one way for him to see beyond its frame.

Shown together, these two series complement each other, and broaden Luke’s continuing investigations into the peculiar reality of popular culture. Inherently disposable, it is all but inseparable from our lives, and is a genuine point of connection with other people. Luke’s work borrows its universal language and bends it toward subjectivity- to anxiety, masculinity, mortality, and a lifelong fascination with the figures that tell the stories.

Luke Butler (b. 1971) received his MFA from CCA in 2008. He has held solo exhibitions in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and has been included in numerous group shows, most notably at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the 2010 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art. His work is part of numerous collections, including the Norton Museum, West Palm Beach. Butler currently lives and works in San Francisco, CA.

Luke Butler is represented by Jessica Silverman Gallery in San Francisco.

The End XIX, Acrylic on canvas, 38 x 54 inches, 2014

The End XIX, Acrylic on canvas, 38 x 54 inches, 2014

Luke Butler   


In Color and Black and White
May 31 - July 19, 2014

The End XIX, Acrylic on canvas, 38 x 54 inches, 2014

The End XIX, Acrylic on canvas, 38 x 54 inches, 2014