Tag Archives: Bradley Butler

Get To Know Us: What’s on our Walls

This next post in our series of staff blogs at Main Street Arts showcases the art found in our homes. We hope that this series will give a little insight into who we are, our backgrounds, and our interests. This will be an ongoing feature that will continue throughout the duration of our closure due to COVID-19.


SARAH

The foyer of our house features a group of work by former MSA resident Marisa Bruno, Hannah Lindo (from a MSA juried Small Works exhibition), John Green (from a two-person exhibition at MSA), Robin Whiteman (MSA gallery shop artist), Matt Metz (from the Flower City Pottery Invitational), and an original Bradley Butler. Show in the mirror to the right, a painting by Rochester artist Amy Vena and a painting by former MSA resident Kira Buckle.

The foyer of our house features a group of work by former MSA resident Marisa Bruno, Hannah Lindo (from a MSA juried Small Works exhibition), John Green (from a two-person exhibition at MSA), Robin Whiteman (MSA gallery shop artist), Matt Metz (from the Flower City Pottery Invitational), and an original Bradley Butler. Show in the mirror to the right, a painting by Rochester artist Amy Vena and a painting by former MSA resident Kira Buckle.

Brad and I have what I think is the start of a really great art collection hanging on the walls of our home. Being the directors of an arts organization that hosts several exhibitions per year gives us the chance to see all types of work from new and familiar artists all the time. Sometimes we can’t let a piece of art leave the gallery unless it’s in our car and on its journey to our house. (Okay, maybe not sometimes…maybe often.)

We have many pieces in our collection that we’ve acquired from our Main Street Arts connections including work shown in exhibitions, work from our gallery shop artists, and pieces from former artists in residence.

A view down our upstairs hallway, looking at the stairwell. The skull print on the left, by Bill Fick, was acquired from Rochester Contemporary during the Outlaw Printmakers Show in 2014.

A view down our upstairs hallway, looking at the stairwell. The skull print on the left, by Bill Fick, was acquired from Rochester Contemporary during the Outlaw Printmakers Show in 2014.

Left, a painting by Robert Ernst Marx (from a two-person exhibition at MSA) hangs above a drawing by former MSA resident Geena Massaro. Right, a grouping of work from former MSA resident Emily Tyman, Rochester artist Jim Mott, RIT alum Autumn Hasthor, former Flower City Arts Center resident Lane Chapman, and Rochester artist Sage Churchill Foster.

Left, a painting by Robert Ernst Marx (from a two-person exhibition at MSA) hangs above a drawing by former MSA resident Geena Massaro. Right, a grouping of work from former MSA resident Emily Tyman, Rochester artist Jim Mott, RIT alum Autumn Hasthor, former Flower City Arts Center resident Lane Chapman, and Rochester artist Sage Churchill Foster.

Hanging in area of our stairwell is a drawing of our four-legged kids by July/August 2019 resident Geena Massaro that hangs below a Robert Marx painting that was included in his two-person exhibition in 2017. In another area, a painting of mushrooms by October/November 2018 resident Emily Tyman is paired with a painting by Jim Mott that was included in the Upstate New York Painting Invitational at Main Street Arts in 2017 and a ceramic sculpture by Autumn Hasthor, a now RIT alum, who had her BFA show Sewn Solid on the second floor of the gallery in 2018. Also included in the grouping, a ceramic sculpture by Lane Chapman (a former resident at the Flower City Arts Center) and a RoCo 6×6 featuring an elegant little glass mushroom by Sage Churchill Foster whose work is regularly featured in the gallery shop at Main Street Arts… (Read Sarah’s full post here and see what else is on her walls!)


RACHEL

I moved into an apartment in the Neighborhood of the Arts in Rochester a few years ago with my son. It’s the best neighborhood I’ve lived in in my adult life—my goes to the School of the Arts and can walk there. We have picnics at the Eastman gardens. So, I do my best to make sure the interior feels like home, too.

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My favorite artist is Egon Schiele. I’ve got a few canvas prints in my living room that, in terms of form/gesture and color, make my living room feel light and airy.

I continue to learn about new artists through the exhibits (and even just the conversations I have with Brad, Sarah, and Maria) at Main Street Arts. I have loved the work produced by the artists in-residence but I actually purchased a few things from Lya Finston. I’m in love with these.

RachelPaintings

The rest of the art in my home is sentimental. My mother is a botanical artist—she has a knack for precise detail and color, particularly reds and pinks. In my opinion she’s extremely skilled and that’s probably because she puts endless hours into fine tuning her work. I have this orange fritillaria that she painted for my college graduation and the pomegranate above my stairs.

About a year ago I commissioned Beverly Rafferty to paint this image of the moon over the ocean. The silver in this painting glows at night and it has a completely different look than it does in the daytime. Her work is incredible and I particularly love this painting because I’m friends with her daughter. Plus it reminds me of living near the ocean. On the east coast, the full moon always rises on the ocean.

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Finally, when I moved back to New Jersey for a period of time, I kept in touch with my closest girl friends. Here I have a cork board full of stationary from them with the sweetest notes. I keep it in my reading nook.


MARIA

The "Art Wall" - a display of artwork made by my children

The “Art Wall” – a display of artwork made by my children

I love to put art on my walls. I have my own art, my children’s art and art from other artists all around my house. About a year ago I started the “art wall”, as we call it in my home, which proudly displays paintings, drawings, prints and collages made by my children. A few times a month new pieces go up and old pieces come down and the kids get really excited to have a new piece displayed. The art wall also adds color and energy to my living room and I like to just sit and stare at all of the beautiful pieces. There are piles and piles of drawings and paintings my children have made and I can’t display them all, but it is nice to have a fluid space, that from time to time exhibits an especially beautiful picture.

Emma Percy's "Ties that Bind" with my own embroidery and weaving

Emma Percy’s “Ties that Bind” with my own embroidery and weaving

Since working at Main Street Arts I have been able to collect a few pieces from various exhibits. I love bringing new art home and finding a place for it. Below is my latest purchase “Ties that Bind” by Emma Percy with 2 little glass sheep my daughter got my husband and I for Christmas last year, safe on top. I paired it with my own art—an embroidery and a weaving. It is a thoughtful little story in my living room and it brings me a sense of peace and joy to sit back and look at it or glance at it from the corner of my eye as I go about my day.

Angela Guest's felt collage and Penny's photo collage

Angela Guest’s felt collage and Penny’s photo collage

I acquired a piece by former artist in residence Angela Guest and absolutely love having it in my home and looking at it every day. This piece in particular brings me great joy and wonderment. I recently rearranged some of the art on my walls and decided to pair it with a photo collage made by my daughter, Penny, for the Ontario Pathways exhibition at Main Street Arts last year. I like how the colors and playfulness interact between the two.


BRAD

For me, living with original art is a personal requirement right after food and shelter. I know that my quality of life would suffer without the variety of art objects I interact with every day. Working from home during this pandemic has made this even more clear.

Morning coffee from a mug by Tom Jaszczak with Carl Chiarenza's "Tenaya Diptych" over my shoulder at the top of our staircase

Morning coffee from a mug by Tom Jaszczak with Carl Chiarenza’s “Tenaya Diptych” over my shoulder at the top of our staircase

As I make my way downstairs at the start of each day, I am greeted by so many thought-provoking paintings, photographs, sculptures, drawings, and prints.

Any beverages I drink each day, from cups of coffee to glasses—or ceramic tea bowls—of wine, have been made by an artist I know or whose work I admire. I have favorite cups and mugs in our collection but I find such joy in using a different cup every day.

A painting by Lanna Pejovic is joined by two ceramic sculptures, the small masked figure at the top is by Carrianne Hendrickson and the handshake tile is by Bill Stewart.

From our livining room:A painting by Lanna Pejovic is joined by two ceramic sculptures, the small masked figure at the top is by Carrianne Hendrickson and the handshake tile is by Bill Stewart.

Where and how artwork is hung is important. I like to install the work in our home as I would in the gallery and enjoy bringing seemingly different kinds of art together in close proximity—this is an added benefit when you live in an old house. The walls of our own personal exhibition are always evolving. When something new is acquired, it finds its place next to pieces that we have already lived with for years.

Two paintings by Chad Grohman, which hang in our dining room

Two paintings by Chad Grohman, which hang in our dining room

Continuing to add new artwork to our walls will often present new ways to view the work and I will notice new things. A new way to perceive the composition, a color that stands out differently on a particular day, or a new personal meaning to the piece.

(Left) in the stairwell on the orange wall an astral painting by Rochester artist, Amy Vena who I met in grad school and a ceramic piece by former Flower City Arts Center artist in residence, Andrew Cho who I met when I worked there in 2011.

(Left) in the stairwell on the orange wall an astral painting by Rochester artist, Amy Vena who I met in grad school and a ceramic piece by former Flower City Arts Center artist in residence, Andrew Cho who I met when I worked there in 2011. (Right) A small drawing by Travis Hetman of Tom Waits with a quote from one of my favorite songs “Make it Rain”, this drawing greets me as I walk down the stairs to my basement studio.

I know that my tendency to like certain types of artwork is informed by my own aesthetics and motivations as a painter. I like the blurred lines between my roles as a curator, collector, and artist. Sarah’s interests and background as a graphic designer play an equal role in the art we collect and I love the way we continue to influence each other’s taste in art.


Keep an eye out for next week’s Get To Know Us blog post, when we’ll let you know how else we are spending our time—other than giving you great virtual arts content!

A Growing Art Collection by Sarah Butler

The foyer of our house features a group of work by former MSA resident Marisa Bruno, Hannah Lindo (from a MSA juried Small Works exhibition), John Green (from a two-person exhibition at MSA), Robin Whiteman (MSA gallery shop artist), Matt Metz (from the Flower City Pottery Invitational), and an original Bradley Butler. Show in the mirror to the right, a painting by Rochester artist Amy Vena and a painting by former MSA resident Kira Buckle.

The foyer of our house features a group of work by former MSA resident Marisa Bruno, Hannah Lindo (from a MSA juried Small Works exhibition), John Greene (from a two-person exhibition at MSA), Robin Whiteman (MSA gallery shop artist), Matt Metz (from the Flower City Pottery Invitational), and an original Bradley Butler. Shown in the mirror to the right, a painting by Rochester artist Amy Vena and a painting by former MSA resident Kira Buckel.

Brad and I have what I think is the start of a really great art collection hanging on the walls of our home. Being the directors of an arts organization that hosts several exhibitions per year gives us the chance to see all types of work from new and familiar artists all the time. Sometimes we can’t let a piece of art leave the gallery unless it’s in our car and on its journey to our house. (Okay, maybe not sometimes…maybe often.)

We have many pieces in our collection that we’ve acquired from our Main Street Arts connections including work shown in exhibitions, work from our gallery shop artists, and pieces from former artists in residence.

A view down our upstairs hallway, looking at the stairwell. The skull print on the left, by Bill Fick, was acquired from Rochester Contemporary during the Outlaw Printmakers Show in 2014.

A view down our upstairs hallway, looking at the stairwell. The skull print on the left, by Bill Fick, was acquired from Rochester Contemporary during the Outlaw Printmakers Show in 2014.

Left, a painting by Robert Ernst Marx (from a two-person exhibition at MSA) hangs above a drawing by former MSA resident Geena Massaro. Right, a grouping of work from former MSA resident Emily Tyman, Rochester artist Jim Mott, RIT alum Autumn Hasthor, former Flower City Arts Center resident Lane Chapman, and Rochester artist Sage Churchill Foster.

Left, a painting by Robert Ernst Marx (from a two-person exhibition at MSA) hangs above a drawing by former MSA resident Geena Massaro. Right, a grouping of work from former MSA resident Emily Tyman, Rochester artist Jim Mott, RIT alum Autumn Hasthor, former Flower City Arts Center resident Lane Chapman, and Rochester artist Sage Churchill Foster.

Hanging in area of our stairwell is a drawing of our four-legged kids by July/August 2019 resident Geena Massaro that hangs below a Robert Marx painting that was included in his two-person exhibition in 2017. In another area, a painting of mushrooms by October/November 2018 resident Emily Tyman is paired with a painting by Jim Mott that was included in the Upstate New York Painting Invitational at Main Street Arts in 2017 and a ceramic sculpture by Autumn Hasthor, a now RIT alum, who had her BFA show Sewn Solid on the second floor of the gallery in 2018. Also included in the grouping, a ceramic sculpture by Lane Chapman (a former resident at the Flower City Arts Center) and a RoCo 6×6 featuring an elegant little glass mushroom by Sage Churchill Foster whose work is regularly featured in the gallery shop at Main Street Arts.

The mantle in our living room is the home to one of Brad's own paintings, a mixed media piece by former MSA resident Cathy Gordon, a vessel by Rochester artist Peter Pincus, a tiki sculpture from Hawaii and a vessel from Mexico, as well as an antique camel sculpture and other objects. Guest appearance by our four-legged kids Rodney (left) and Margot (right).

The mantle in our living room is the home to one of Brad’s own paintings, a mixed media piece by former MSA resident Cathy Gordon, a vessel by Rochester artist Peter Pincus, a tiki sculpture from Hawaii and a vessel from Mexico, as well as an antique camel sculpture and other objects. Guest appearance by our four-legged kids Rodney (left) and Margot (right).

Left, a mixed media piece by July 2017 artist in residence Cathy Gordon and one of Brad's abstract paintings sit on our mantle. Next to them, shown on the right, is a tiki we purchased from an artist working on a sidewalk in Lahaina, Maui during our honeymoon, and a vessel from a 2018 trip to Mexico.

Left, a mixed media piece by July 2017 artist in residence Cathy Gordon and one of Brad’s abstract paintings sit on our mantle. Next to them, shown on the right, is a tiki we purchased from an artist working on a sidewalk in Lahaina, Maui during our honeymoon, and a vessel from a 2018 trip to Mexico.

The mantle in our living room features a mixed media piece by July 2017 artist in residence Cathy Gordon, alongside one of own Brad’s paintings, and a vessel by Rochester artist Peter Pincus from his solo exhibition at Main Street Arts in 2014. Also on the mantle: a tiki sculpture purchased from a Hawaiian artist working on the street in Lahaina, Maui from our honeymoon in February 2008, and a Mata Ortiz vessel by Mexican artist Octavio Silveiro which we acquired on a trip to Mexico in 2017.

Left, a print by Syracuse artist Elizabeth Andrews acquired at the Memorial Art Gallery's Clothesline Festival in 2009. This piece sits at the top of our stairs and always makes me smile because on the wall just behind it (shown far left) is our wedding photo in which we are standing in the exact same pose. Right, a 6x6 from the first year of RoCo's 6x6 exhibition in 2008 done by Cory Card, who sadly passed away earlier this year. This piece sits on a shelf in my studio. It says "mangled" and was the first piece I was drawn to at that exhibition due to its bold simplicity.

Left, a print by Syracuse artist Elizabeth Andrews acquired at the Memorial Art Gallery’s Clothesline Festival in 2009. This piece sits at the top of our stairs and always makes me smile because on the wall just behind it (shown far left) is our wedding photo in which we are standing in the exact same pose. Right, a 6×6 from the first year of RoCo’s 6×6 exhibition in 2008 done by Cory Card, who sadly passed away earlier this year. This piece sits on a shelf in my studio. It says “mangled” and was the first piece I was drawn to at that exhibition due to its bold simplicity.

Main Street Arts is a wonderful resource in finding new and inspiring works to add to our personal collection, but we also love to find pieces to add when we visit other local arts organizations. Every year we attend the Flower City Pottery Invitational at the Flower City Arts Center, the Memorial Art Gallery’s Clothesline Festival and Fine Craft Show, and exhibitions at Rochester Contemporary including their 6×6 exhibition.

Our cup collection is quickly outgrowing its designated space in this cabinet in our kitchen. Last year, we added lighting to showcase all of the beautiful cups and bowls we have acquired.

Our cup collection is quickly outgrowing its designated space in this cabinet in our kitchen. Last year, we added lighting to showcase all of the beautiful cups and bowls we have acquired.

A few of my favorites from our cup collection. Left, center, a mug by Sam Chung purchased during the 2019 Flower City Pottery invitational. Just behind it to left, you can see a collaborative cup by August 2018 MSA residents Maliya Travers-Crumb (ceramic artist) and Jill Grimes (painter). To the left of the mug, a cup by John and Kathy Brien from the MSA gallery shop. In the image on the right, my all time favorite cup in the collection, by Matt Metz can be seen in the front on the right. This piece was purchased during the 2017 Flower City Pottery Invitational. The blue tall cup on the left is by Nicolas Kekic. The short tumbler in the front and the tea bowl in the back were both purchased from two different "The Cup, The Mug" exhibitions at Main Street Arts.

A few of my favorites from our cup collection. Left, center, a mug by Sam Chung purchased during the 2019 Flower City Pottery invitational. Just behind it to left, you can see a collaborative cup by August 2018 MSA residents Maliya Travers-Crumb (ceramic artist) and Jill Grimes (painter). To the left of the mug, a cup by John and Kathy Brien from the MSA gallery shop. In the image on the right, my all time favorite cup in the collection, by Matt Metz can be seen in the front on the right. This piece was purchased during the 2017 Flower City Pottery Invitational. The blue tall cup on the left is by Nicolas Kekic. The short tumbler in the front and the tea bowl in the back were both purchased from two different “The Cup, The Mug” exhibitions at Main Street Arts.

We’ve acquired several cups from our annual juried exhibition The Cup, The Mug at Main Street Arts, as well as from the Flower City Arts Center, The Memorial Art Gallery, trips we’ve been on, and we even have a collaborative mug from August 2018 Main Street Arts residents Maliya Travers-Crumb and Jill Grimes. In addition to cups and mugs, we’ve started adding some beautiful bowls to our “cup cabinet” including work by ceramic artists Sang Joon Park and Kaete Brittin Shaw, and glass artist Nicolas Kekic—artists we were introduced to at the 2018 and 2019 MAG Fine Craft Show. Our collection is quickly outgrowing this space and I don’t see it slowing anytime soon!

"These Are My Rivers #16" by Rochester artist Pete Monicelli. This is a piece we purchased last year from his exhibition at Colleen Buzzard's studio at the Anderson Art Building.

“These Are My Rivers #16″ by Rochester artist Pete Monicelli. This is a piece we purchased last year from his exhibition at Colleen Buzzard’s studio at the Anderson Art Building.

We also like finding gems from smaller galleries or artist studios. Last year we purchased this really wonderful piece by Pete Monicelli from his exhibition at Colleen Buzzard’s studio. It’s still waiting to be framed so I haven’t been able to fully appreciate its beauty as a part of the collection hanging on our walls yet, but I knew when we saw it that it would make a wonderful addition.

Left, a sculpture by Bill Stewart that was included in his 2019 solo exhibition "Eccentric Energy" at Main Street Arts is paired with a print by Buffalo artist Kathy Sherin. Kathy's print was acquired at a fundraiser for Gallery R, the RIT student run gallery in 2013. Right, a painting by Robert Ernst Marx from his solo exhibition "Silent Voices, Silent Rooms" in 2019 at Main Street Arts and a grouping of work by Sylvia Taylor, Anne Muntges, Jim Downer (who Brad and I both had as a graphic design professor during our time at Monroe Community College), and Pat Bacon.

Left, a sculpture by Bill Stewart that was included in his 2019 solo exhibition “Eccentric Energy” at Main Street Arts is paired with a print by Buffalo artist Kathy Sherin. Kathy’s print was acquired at a fundraiser for Gallery R, the RIT student run gallery in 2013. Right, a painting by Robert Ernst Marx from his solo exhibition “Silent Voices, Silent Rooms” in 2019 at Main Street Arts and a grouping of work by Sylvia Taylor, Anne Muntges, Jim Downer (who Brad and I both had as a graphic design professor during our time at Monroe Community College), and Pat Bacon.

We collect art because the work speaks to us in some way and reminds us of connections we have with the artists who created them—the reminders of residents who spent time with us at Main Street Arts, hot dog lunches and studio visits with Robert and Francie Marx, or a special vacation where we met the artist working on his or her craft. I wish that I could showcase each piece of art or grouping on our walls, but it’s hard to do because there is so much to say about each piece and the stories made when they are seen together in our home.


This post was written by Sarah Butler, assistant director at Main Street Arts and is expanded from her response on the “What’s on Our Walls post in the Get to Know Us series.

 

Get To Know Us: “What We’re Reading”

This next post in our series of staff blogs at Main Street Arts focuses on what we’re reading. We hope that this series will give a little insight into who we are, our backgrounds, and our interests. This will be an ongoing feature that will continue throughout the duration of our closure due to COVID-19.


MARIA

Left: Maria and her daughter with Felt Wee Folk; Right: A felt wee folk they've made

Left: Maria and her daughter with Felt Wee Folk; Right: A felt wee folk they’ve made together

My mother-in-law recently lent my daughter and I a wonderful book called Felt Wee Folk by Salley Mavor, and this is what I am reading right now. This book gives detailed techniques and tips for making one’s own felt wee folk with a wooden bead head, a pipe cleaner body and embroidered felt clothing. My daughter loves when I get this book out along with the craft supplies, and together we have made quite a few wee folk, that she absolutely cherishes!

Left: Maria working on her pandemic blanket; Right: Simple Crochet

Left: Maria working on her pandemic blanket; Right: Simple CrochetLeft: Maria working on her pandemic blanket; Right: Simple Crochet by Erika Knight

I am also reading Simple Crochet by Erika Knight. I need to keep my hands busy and I have found crocheting to be a great activity to do when I have down time in my day. I recently learned a new pattern in Simple Crochet and a working on a blanket. I’m actually calling it my “Pandemic Blanket” and am using only the yarn I have hoarded over the years, since I’m not supposed to go to yarn stores currently!


RACHEL

You’ve probably heard of Karl Ove Knausgård–he’s a living Norwegian cannon and he’s widely known for his series My Struggle, translated by James Anderson and first published by Archipelago. He currently has a series of essays, The Seasons Quartet, published by Penguin. But you never hear about A Time for Everything. To date, I wouldn’t say that Knausgård is one of my favorite authors (like Krasznahorkai or Clarice Lispector) but A Time for Everything is one of my favorite novels. The premise is simple: a man named Antinous Bellori researches angels as a species. The narration cycles through Bellori’s perspective and also cites (and completely rewrites) stories from the bible in which angels are mentioned: Cain and Able, the Great Flood, and so on.

Zadie Smith and Karl Ove Knausgård

Zadie Smith and Karl Ove Knausgård

On June 5, 2014, I took a train from Rochester to McNally Jackson because I heard Knausgård was going to be at the launch event for the release of Book Three of his My Struggle series—and that it was going to be moderated by Zadie Smith. I got to Prince Street an hour early and the line was wrapped around the block. I was lucky because the line was cut off just a few people behind me due to fire code. That’s how many people wanted to see him. We were on top of each other on the bottom floor of McNally. I stood on a chair to see him and Zadie Smith the whole time.

Knausgård read from the Norwegian, Zadie Smith read in the English (and if you’ve never heard her read, you don’t really know what Poe meant when he said tragedy and melancholy are the height of beauty), and a Q&A followed. ( Read Rachel’s full post about Knausgård here)


SARAH

Sarah's night stand book stack

Sarah’s night stand book stack

I have a stack of books sitting on my night stand. I put them there thinking that it would encourage me to read before falling asleep or when I wake up in the morning. And it worked for a little while until it didn’t anymore.

The cover of "High School"

The cover of “High School”

At the bottom of the stack is High School, a memoir by musicians Tegan and Sara Quinn. A gift from my husband for my birthday, I read it through it in about three days. It’s still in the stack because I am planning to re-read it. In some ways it reflects experiences I had in high school, and in other ways it gave me a look into a high school experience for people who are very different from myself. From a graphic design perspective, the cover of this book is phenomenal. It captures my feelings about the book perfectly. Almost like a fun house mirror, in the cover you see your own reflection but it’s distorted just enough that you don’t recognize the person either.

Books from the middle of Sarah's book stack

Books from the middle of Sarah’s book stack

In the middle of the stack, you’ll find The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. This one is a bit self-helpy but who doesn’t need that from time to time? (Also, the title!) Also mid-stack is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain, which I purchased from Sulfur Books. As an introvert, it appealed to me.

The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli

The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli

On the top of the stack is The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli, an author recommendation to me by Rachel, our literary arts coordinator, and a book that I purchased at Sulfur Books. (I will admit that the teeth illustrations may have been one of the driving factors in the purchase of this book.) This is my most recent read, with a really fascinating story line, and one that I am so (so) close to finishing but haven’t had time. Maybe now is the perfect time to get back on track!


BRAD

I have never been a reader. In high school, I didn’t finish even one book—except Of Mice and Men, which was one of the assigned summer reading books. Otherwise I always skimmed the books and faked my way through! In college, I took a survey of english literature and then a class called women in literature and I started to enjoy reading. In grad school and afterwards, I would start many books—artist biographies, philosophy, books about strange occurrences—some of which I would finish, others are still left on a long list of “books to be read or finished”.

Top: My copy of House of Leaves; Bottom: an open spread showing the unusual layout (including backwards text!)

Top: My copy of House of Leaves; Bottom: an open spread showing the unusual layout (including backwards text!)

My favorite book is House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski—he’s the brother of musician, Poe. Her album Haunted is the companion to House of Leaves—a novel about a house, time and space, and things that aren’t what they seem. This book is probably the thickest novel I’ve read and it has a lot of footnotes, stories within stories, and text you have to read in a mirror. Also, the word House always appears in blue.

Books that Brad means to read

Books that Brad means to read

I am currently meaning to read five books. One of them was started two years ago, one from earlier last year, and the others were started more recently. They range from non-fiction to short stories and one of them, the novella The Taiga Syndrome, is one of the April book club books at Sulfur Books. My brother-in-law got me a subscription to Sun Magazine (thank you Sylvia Taylor for introducing me to this!) for Christmas last year and I have enjoyed getting into reading that as well, although its no surprise to me that the issues to be read are piling up…


Keep an eye out for next week’s Get To Know Us blog post, when we’ll let you know what’s hanging on the walls in our homes!

Get To Know Us: Introductions

This is the first in a series of posts from the staff at Main Street Arts. We hope that this series will give a little insight into who we are, our backgrounds, and our interests. This will be an ongoing feature that will continue throughout the duration of our closure due to COVID-19.


 BRAD

Bradley Butler, executive director and curator, drinking a beer in New York City

Bradley Butler, executive director and curator, drinking a beer in New York City

Hey! It’s Brad! I am the executive director and curator at Main Street Arts and I have been here since the gallery opened in 2013.

A meandering combination of work and school experiences brought me here. Oddly enough, I now work only 6 minutes from where I spent my first 23 years—I grew up on Clifton Street in Manchester. In high school I decided to pursue a degree in graphic design at Monroe Community College. I also worked at a print shop in Canandaigua after graduating from high school and worked there while going to college and afterward, for a total of 7 years. After 2.5 years at MCC—I stayed an extra semester to build a stronger portfolio—I decided to shift gears and pursue art education at Nazareth College. It was here that I took my first college-level painting class with one of my favorite painters, Kathy Calderwood. In her class, I became a painter!

Brad in his studio at RIT prior to graduation, circa 2010

Brad in his studio at RIT prior to graduation, circa 2010

After my first art teaching job —teaching 4th–6th grade kids— was cut from the budget, I decided to get an MFA at Rochester Institute of Technology so that I could teach at the college level. It was there that I worked with Zerbe Sodervick in an assistantship at Gallery r—at the time, this was a student run gallery located on Park Ave. I taught as an adjunct professor at RIT and SUNY Brockport, worked at Genesee Center for the Arts (now Flower City Arts Center), and had various non-art jobs before finding Main Street Arts.

Installation shot of Sprawling Visions, the first show of 2020

Installation shot of Sprawling Visions, the first show of 2020

Over the last 7 years at Main Street Arts, I have grown into my role here and appreciate its rewards and challenges. I feel lucky that I get to commute to work each day with my wife and that we share a tiny office together.


 SARAH

Sarah Butler the day she graduated from MICA

Sarah Butler, assistant director, the day she graduated from MICA

Hi, I’m Sarah, the assistant director of Main Street Arts.

I have been working here for just over three years — I started in January of 2017 — but I have been involved with the gallery in some fashion since it opened in 2013. I am married to Bradley, the executive director, and from the beginning I always volunteered to serve drinks at opening receptions, paint the gallery, and generally pitch in when needed.

Sarah, serving wine in the background during an opening reception

Sarah, serving wine in the background during an opening reception

During the first four years of the gallery’s existence, when I wasn’t working here, Brad and I would take our dogs for walks in the evenings and we talked about all of the possibilities for Main Street Arts. I have felt a part of Main Street Arts from the beginning, even just through these conversations we had each evening. I am incredibly fortunate to now work here as we continue those conversations together each day work.

Sarah's studio

Sarah’s studio

My background is in graphic design. I attended Monroe Community College and graduated with an AAS in graphic design before transferring to Rochester Institute of Technology. During both my time at MCC and RIT, I worked at a local shop called Mobile Graphics. I graduated from RIT with a BFA in graphic design and eventually changed jobs. In 2010, I began working as a graphic designer at Finger Lakes Community College for the advancement department and worked there for 6 years. In May 2014, I decided to pursue an MPS (masters in professional studies) in the business of art and design through the Maryland Institute College of Art and graduated with my degree in mid-August 2015. Just one week after my graduation, I turned 30 and Brad and I took a great adventure down the California coast.

In addition to handling a lot of the behind-the-scenes happenings at Main Street Arts, I also design all of our marketing materials, website, and exhibition catalogs. I approach the world through the lens of a graphic designer. I am hyper organized, love schedules, and appreciate all things good design.


MARIA

Hello, this is Maria Galens, gallery assistant at Main Street Arts. I help out with whatever is needed to make the gallery run smoothly from painting walls and printing tags to re-designing the retail shop and communicating with retail artists.

A student working on a project from Maria's Winter Art Saturday class

A student working on a project from Maria’s Winter Art Saturdays class

I am also an art educator and teach art to kids through our Art Saturdays program, as well as veterans at the VA in Canandaigua. I thoroughly enjoy thinking about and creating art lessons for the variety of students I teach. For my education, I received my B.F.A. from Pratt Institute and went on to earn my M.S.Ed in K-12 Art Education at Nazareth.

Maria Galens' daughters, Penelope and Josephine

Maria Galens’ daughters, Penelope and Josephine

I have 2 children, Penelope – age 6, and Josephine – age 3, who are little budding artists and love to draw. I always have paper and markers available around the house so they can draw anytime they feel the desire. My ambition to create my own artwork has ebbed and flowed since becoming a mother, due to time restrictions and exhaustion, but I have managed to work on smaller projects, like small paintings and embroideries.

A painting in progress by Maria

A painting in progress by Maria

I recently started a larger acrylic painting that I am excited about! My children enjoy watching me draw and paint and it is a real joy to be able to pass onto them the artistic skills and creative thinking of being an artist!


RACHEL

Hi, I’m Rachel! I am the literary arts coordinator at Main Street Arts and you can normally find me at Sulfur Books, the Main Street Arts owned bookstore.

Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator

Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator

I completed my bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature (with a focus in Russian) at the University of Rochester and went on to complete my master’s in English Literature there as well. During my time at the university, I can say that it was the internships and volunteering opportunities with Open Letter Books—a Rochester-based press that publishes literature in translation whose books we carry at the store—that left the greatest impression on me. I learned how prevalent contemporary literature in translation is, why we should all be reading living authors, and diversifying what we read.

The wall of Literature in Translation at Sulfur Books

The wall of Literature in Translation at Sulfur Books

While I was completing my master’s degree, I began freelancing for City Newspaper covering the literary community, and interviewing visiting authors. I was granted the opportunity to write a cover story about literary translators in Rochester who bring women’s voices to the spotlight. These translators’ roles are so significant to creating diversity in the literary arts. Marginality in literature has always interested me—the other or the subaltern; who speaks and who is spoken for. Throughout both my graduate and undergraduate careers, I focused on voice and representation. I spoke on two panels in New York (the New York Public Library and Columbia Teachers College) on women and madness in literature. After that, I presented at the University of Johannesburg and co-presented at the Catholic University of Portugal—each on Zimbabwean author Yvonne Vera, through the lens of ecofeminism.


 

The Main Street Arts crew: (left to right) Sarah Butler, assistant director; Maria Galens, gallery assistant; Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator; and Bradley Butler, executive director and curator.

The Main Street Arts crew: (left to right) Sarah Butler, assistant director; Maria Galens, gallery assistant; Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator; and Bradley Butler, executive director and curator.


Keep an eye out for next week’s Get To Know Us blog post, when we’ll let you know what we’re all reading!

 

From The Director: Sacred Curiosities

Sacred Curiosities, installation shot

Sacred Curiosities, installation shot

Sometimes, an exhibition will come to me quickly. An artist will submit their work and it instantly sparks an idea of what other artist/artists could be paired with this person to make an engaging show. The full concept and title will also come easily and all will be well… More often, I will come up with an abstract notion of an idea and then try to find work that will fit. For Sacred Curiosities, it was the latter.

Planning notes for the exhibition

Planning notes for the exhibition with the first three artists to be included

About a year and a half ago, I had the spark of an idea for an exhibition and wrote myself a note that said “Object/Relic/Ritual”. This vague description was a guide for me but didn’t really get close to defining what the show would be, visually. I knew it would be based on objects (found objects) that seemed like relics, either from the artist’s everyday life or from another time entirely. The “ritual” aspect shows up in work that seems to indicate daily routine and in some cases, references to religious or spiritual practices.

A shrine by Chad Grohman. Chad's motivation for making these pieces comes from his experiences as a Nichiren Shu Buddhist Priest. The content of his images comes from doctrinal concepts found throughout the Buddhist cannon.

A shrine by Chad Grohman. Chad’s motivation for making these pieces comes from his experiences as a Nichiren Shu Buddhist Priest. The content of his images comes from doctrinal concepts found throughout the Buddhist cannon.

Immaculate Conception (front piece), a sculpture by Jacquie Germanow sits in front of many of Marth O'Connor's female totems and a framed "portrait" by Emily Kenas on the wall

“Immaculate Conception” (front piece), a sculpture by Jacquie Germanow sits in front of many of Martha O’Connor’s female totems and a framed “portrait” by Emily Kenas on the wall

A large part of Sacred Curiosities is focused on found object sculpture. The beauty of this method of making art is that many disparate parts—all with their own meaning or connotation—come together to form something new. The grouping of materials may be harmonious or it may be a collection of diverse and contradictory parts. The artists create new meaning from the various materials.

“Two Figures”, a found object sculpture by Emily Kenas as seen at a studio visit on March 15, 2016 (left) and again May 3, 2017 (right)

The paintings, drawings, and other more traditionally constructed sculpture add to this notion by depicting personal, historical, or cultural signifiers as they relate to the artist.

Richard Rockford pointing to "Todd" during my studio vist with him. This is an image made by cutting and reconstructing a vintage sign

Richard Rockford pointing to “Todd” during my studio visit with him in September, 2016. This piece was made by cutting and reconstructing a vintage sign.

Thinking about the meaning of objects led me to think about the passage of time and how the meaning we assign to certain objects can change. A symbol or signifier excavated centuries after it was made is interpreted out of its original context and the meaning is assigned based on what else may be known of the time from which it came.

A collection of legs from various sculptures in Bill Stewart's studio

A collection of legs from various sculptures in Bill Stewart’s studio

What will remain from our time here on earth? What will be known of our civilization when our cultural relics are unearthed? These questions helped me frame the exhibition and give it a context, even if only in my own mind, but the real meaning of the show is derived from the individual meaning created by each artist.

Photo from the studio of Jean Stephens, taken in July, 2016 just after a trip out west when she started working with these images of rock formations.

Photo from the studio of Jean Stephens, taken in July, 2016 just after a trip out west when she started working with these images of rock formations.

This exhibition has humor, evidence of self-examination, nostalgia and most of all a pluralistic collection of disparate parts coming together. Stop in before Friday, November 17 at 6 p.m. to experience this exhibition and investigate all of the bits and pieces that make up this show.

From The Director: Art in the Nation’s Capitol

In front of the National Gallery in Washington D.C.

In front of the National Gallery in Washington D.C.

This past weekend, I attended a family wedding in Washington D.C. While I was there, I had a whole day to kill before the wedding so I decided to see some art. I started out in the west building of the National Gallery of Art, where they mainly have what I call “the old stuff”. 

Rotunda in entrance of West Building

Rotunda in entrance of West Building

While there is so much to appreciate and study in art from early art history, I usually bypass the collections from the middle ages, renaissance, and prehistoric times. I typically choose to look at artwork made after 1900. Today, I decided to just take it all in (or at least as much as I could in 4 hours) and wandered through each room in the grand building.

Bronze casts of French members of Parliament made from Daumier original unbaked clay sculptures

Bronze casts of French members of Parliament made from Daumier’s original unbaked clay sculptures

Not surprisingly, the things I was drawn to were not that old. Highlights for me from the West Building include bronze sculptures of French officials by Daumier; Color in Context, a small exhibition of prints by Edvard Munch focusing on the use of color and the specific theosophical meaning of his colors; and Posing For The Camera, an exhibition of 60 photographs chronicling how posing for a portrait has changed since the invention of photography.

(left) Photo of playwright Jean Genêt by Brassaï, (center) Untitled photo from Berlin by György Kepes; and (right) Photo of Lucian Freud by Brassaï

(left) Photo of playwright Jean Genêt by Brassaï, (center) Untitled photo from Berlin by György Kepes; and (right) Photo of Lucian Freud by Brassaï

Moving to the East building (with a break for a burrito in the park) you notice the distinct differences in the architecture. The first building was classical, the second building was modern and angular.

Interior shot of the east building of the National Gallery

Interior shot of the East Building

The highlights from this building of the National Gallery include a drawing with soot by Lee Bontecou; “Blue Blood” by Martin Puryear, a large circular piece made from pine and cedar; and the thing that knocked me out the most was a film by James Nares called “Street” with a score by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.

"Untitled" drawing with soot by Lee Bontecou

“Untitled” drawing with soot by Lee Bontecou

"Blue Blood" by Martin Puryear

“Blue Blood” by Martin Puryear (with security guy for scale reference)

In the viewing room at The National Gallery watching "Street" by James Nares

In the viewing room at The National Gallery watching “Street” by James Nares

It was a slow motion ride around the streets of NYC and the way we get to interact with these people, usually staring at us or off in to the distance, is very intriguing.  See a clip from the piece here.

Large Robert motherwell painting on the bottom level

Large Robert motherwell painting on the bottom level

"Achilles" by Barnet Newman (left) and two paintings by Clifford Still (right)

“Achilles” by Barnet Newman (left) and two paintings by Clifford Still (right)

"Salut Tom", a huge painting by Joan Mitchell

“Salut Tom”, a huge painting by Joan Mitchell

There were of course some large abstract expressionist paintings, which I always like but the Nares film was my favorite piece. I wish I was able to experience all 61 minutes of it but I didn’t have enough time.

It is always a good idea to check out galleries and museums that you’ve never been to. Sometimes when I am on a trip or vacation, there just isn’t enough time. I’m glad I made the time during this short trip.

204 of Thousands, an installation of cups by Ehren Tool at the Renwick Gallery

“204 of Thousands”, an installation of cups by Ehren Tool at the Renwick Gallery

I also stopped into the Renwick Gallery the day before and saw a great installation of cups by Ehren Tool. Part of his ongoing body of work dealing with war through pottery. This installation at the Renwick Gallery was just a small number compared to the 14,000+ that he has made as part of this project. Powerful to see.

From The Director: End of September Edition

Upstate New York Painting Invitational

Upstate New York Painting Invitational

There have been so many things going on this month, I thought it would be nice to give some highlights… This is the last week to see two great exhibitions. You have until Saturday afternoon to experience the Upstate New York Painting Invitational and Fuse, a solo exhibition of sculpture by Mitch Messina. 

Detail of "" by Mitch Messina

Detail of “Circuit” from the exhibition by Mitch Messina

This is the third consecutive year that we have done a regional, media-specific exhibition. Last year it was printmaking and the year before it was ceramics. This is a great opportunity to see eight painters from our region working in a variety of different styles and media.

We are also having an artists talk this Saturday, October 7 at 2p.m. with seven of the artists included in the Painting Invitational. You can RSVP and get updates on our Facebook Event Page.


The end of each month is always bittersweet… It means that we have to say goodbye to our artists in residence. The bright side is that we get to welcome new artists into our community! Plus this month, Mandy Ranck is staying on for a two month residency, so we get to hang out with her for a while longer.

Ali Herrmann teaching her encaustic collage workshop at Main Street Arts

Ali Herrmann teaching her encaustic collage workshop at Main Street Arts

We are saying goodbye to Ali Herrmann and wishing her well as she travels back home to Lenox, MA. She was the first encaustic artist to be a resident at Main Street Arts and we really enjoyed getting to know her and her work while she was here.


For the month of September, I was honored to be able to teach art classes two days per week at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center. These classes provided an art experience for some of the veterans who are full time residents in the geriatric and psych wards at the VA.

"Animal Collage" project from one of the students at the VA Medical Center

“Animal Collage” project from one of the students at the VA Medical Center

Each class we completed a different project and focused on painting, collage, and ceramics. I would usually have 10–15 guys in the class but the day we did the clay figures, 25 showed up! It was a great experience and I look forward to doing more with the VA in the future.


ArtTalksPromo

On Sunday, Sept. 24, I was privileged to be a part of the Ontario County Arts Council’s “Art Talk” series. In case you missed it, the Art Talk at Wood Library in Canandaigua will be aired on Finger Lakes Television (Spectrum cable 12, digital channel 5.12) on October 6 at 9 a.m., October 7 at 6 p.m., October 13 at 9 a.m., and October 14 at 6 p.m.


Mandy Ranck is our first ceramic resident artist and she also guided our kiln along it’s maiden voyage! We have had a kiln at the gallery since we opened 4 years ago but just have not been able to fire it until this year. 

Mandy Ranck loading work into our kiln at Main Street Arts

Mandy Ranck loading work into our kiln at Main Street Arts

We are looking forward to each time Mandy unloads the kiln! If you are a ceramic artist or you know someone who is interested in a residency, check out the details on our website. You will have full access to the kiln and a potter’s wheel.


Installation shot from last year's Small Works exhibition

Installation shot from last year’s Small Works exhibition

Our deadline for two national juried exhibitions was yesterday at midnight! Keep your eyes peeled as we reveal the accepted artists work in preparation for the opening receptions on Saturday, December 2. The fate of each exhibition is now in the hands of our jurors, Cory Card (Small Works) and Peter Pincus (The Cup, The Mug).

While the month of September was definitely a busy one, the coming months will continue in its path, starting with the installation of our next exhibition Sacred Curiosities, which features the work of 13 artists (opening reception on Saturday, October 21 from 4 to 7 pm). The arrival of work for our two national juried exhibitions will follow, and before you know it, the installation and opening of those exhibitions will be here! We will also be announcing our 2018 exhibition calendar very soon so check our website, follow us on social media and, if you haven’t already, sign up for our weekly email newsletter to keep up with all that’s going on!

From The Director: Utopia/Dystopia

Installation view from "Utopia/Dystopia", painting in foreground by Polly Little

Installation view from ‘Utopia/Dystopia’, painting in foreground by Polly Little

Juried exhibitions are interesting from my perspective as a gallery director. There is much less control of the outcome in an exhibition like this. Typically, I get to choose each artist—and many times, each specific piece—that will be included in a show. From the beginning, I have an idea of how the exhibition will come together and how it can be installed to become an interesting thing unto itself. However, in a juried show I have no control over what will be displayed, only how it will be  displayed.

The usual exhibition at Main Street Arts has its beginnings in seeing a specific piece by an artist and slowly building the idea for the exhibition around that. The place that I end up may be different from where I started but it is this organic process that keeps things interesting for me from year to year.

The current national juried exhibition, Utopia/Dystopia features 40 artists from 15 different states selected by our juror, John Massier—visual arts curator at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo, NY. The idea for this exhibition came to me last year during the strange spectacle that was primaries and started out only as “dystopia”, with no brighter side. As a little time passed, it became important to add in “utopia” as the counterpoint with the hope for an exhibition that presented competing visions of the future. The resulting exhibition brings the realization that the themes of utopia and dystopia can be left to interpretation.

Installation view of 'Utopia/Dystopia', Painting by Sarah Peck in foreground

Installation view of ‘Utopia/Dystopia’, Painting by Sarah Peck in foreground

There are of course pieces in the show that are always read as depicting  dystopia (i.e. things that are on fire or demonic figures) and then there are those that could be both. Endless Pool by Anna Pleskow could be read either way, I see both isolation and serenity. Fretful Mickey by Jennifer McCandless  is meant to be “a dystopian Disney that is hot, crowded, and the only thing to eat is a giant turkey leg” (a quote from the artist) but I could also see this as an alternative version of the Disney classic that is perhaps even more captivating.

(left) "Endless Pool" by Anna Pleskow (right) "Fretful Mikey" by Jennifer McCandless

(left) “Endless Pool” by Anna Pleskow (right) “Fretful Mikey” by Jennifer McCandless

Even though I had a complete lack of control in selecting the work for Utopia/Dystopia, I am very happy with the selections made by our juror. It is an eclectic mix that makes you laugh, scratch your head, and maybe even get a little creeped out! Stop in before June 30, 2017 to see the show before it is gone.

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Bradley Butler: Part Two

Bradley Butler

Detail of Inner Interior (2012)

I have always been attracted to a darker palette. Muddy colors, mixing lots of black and white with my colors, using copious amounts of India ink and powdered charcoal… This led me down a path of slightly grey, almost “dim” work that masked the color that was present in my paintings. For a while, I was trying to mask this color as a way for people to discover it as they stared into the surface. Images and colors would show themselves after your eyes adjusted to the darkness on the immediate surface. You would begin to notice that it wasn’t a flat black or grey you were looking at but a rich grouping of blues, reds, browns and greens.

Bradley Butler

Detail of Sliding Frame of Reference (2011)

Bradley Butler

Detail of Underneath The Expanse (2012)

My work as of late has been a reveal of the colors that were always there but were just hiding beneath the surface. I still “muddy up” the palette and most likely, will always do that;  but more color—vibrant at times—has been showing up in my compositions. I see my recent work (March–October, 2014) as a refined approach to color and also to mark-making. Using brushes I have not picked up in years, leaving marks I would have otherwise covered in the past, and trying to think differently about the way I begin a painting. These are all ways in which I have “forced” a change. Other natural changes have resulted from this as well.

studio shot bradley butler

Two new 30in x 30in canvases are in the works in the studio.

detail of new work by Bradley Butler

Detail of 30in x 30in painting in progress

The paintings have become more consistent, and I feel, more impactful. There are still subtle and understated areas but they pack more punch now… The mystery and depth I am after is still there and will always be there (I hope), but with a new palette. I still use the same colors, I just mix them differently and set different expectations for myself. The colors I use are Golden Brand acrylics because that’s what Kathy Calderwood told me to use when I took her class in college. I use cadmium red, napthol red, cadmium yellow, phthalo blue (green shade), ultramarine blue, titanium white, and mars black. At times, additions or substitutions are made but that happens rarely.

Bradley Butler

My current palette as I work in the studio. This is a popular mix for me lately: ultramarine, pthalo, and cad. yellow with varying degrees of black and white… I also let the colors run into each other to see what happens!

Part three in this series will be coming soon. Until then, stop into the gallery to see The Opposite of Concrete where six of my paintings are featured, along with great work by 4 other talented artists.

Read part one of Inside The Artist’s Studio with Bradley Butler, here.

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Bradley Butler: Part One

Bradley Butler

The studio just before bringing these paintings to the gallery. Pictured (L to R) “The Impossibility  of Understanding”, “Intentionally Losing Direction”, and “The Mirage of Truth”.

Preparing for this exhibition, for me, was a multi-faceted experience. Being both the gallery director and also 1 of 5 exhibiting artists, I found myself feeling many different things. Even though I was concerned with the way inclusion of artwork by the gallery director would be perceived; I was excited to host an exhibition featuring abstraction as the unifying conceptual theme on the main floor.

Abstract painting has been the most direct way for me to communicate visually with an audience. It affects me on the most primal level and allows for a contemplative and direct connection to my deepest thoughts in the studio. When painting, I am sorting out my thoughts and beliefs, processing world events, and also cultivating a visual language. I am constantly experimenting with different approaches to achieving images that are thoroughly “worked” and wrought with a fury of brush strokes, washes of fluid paints, and linear scratches of charcoal and conté crayon.

Bradley Butler

Detail of “Intentionally Losing Direction” while in progress.

For this exhibition, I knew I wanted to have an entirely new set of paintings and I had already begun working towards my current frame of mind in the studio. On January 1, 2013, I began working on new paintings in a new studio for the first time in 8 months (My wife and I bought a house, I had 3 jobs, and no time…). This was a very important time for me and I experienced a renaissance of artistic activity that was lacking from my life. I began to make a body of work that was distinctly different from my MFA thesis body of work from 2010, while still working within the confines of an overall aesthetic I had developed. Realizing this, I pushed on and continued to evolve as an artist. This is still happening and I couldn’t be more excited.

Bradley Butler

Six paintings on paper, part of the “Planes of Existence” series. Three of these are included in the exhibition.

The paintings featured in  The Opposite of Concrete are my most recent. They represent the direction I am heading in as well as my chosen format for the foreseeable future, or at least for a while… I have come to realize that working within a structural standard (30in x 30in canvases and 6in x 9in or 9in x 12in works on paper) takes my mind off of questions like “how big?” and “vertical or horizontal?” I am able to focus on the composition and the development of a more refined color palette, as well as a larger repertoire of the lines and shapes that make up my images. The intuitive manner in which I work usually dictates the direction I end up taking with my paintings. It is an adventure without a specific plan and that is both exciting and frightening! Making formal decisions about the surface or color palette is the only control I allow myself to have. Everything else after that is a chance encounter with brushes and pigments…

Bradley Butler

Detail of “The Mirage of Truth” while in progress.

You can see more images from my studio on Instagram.

Read Part Two of Inside The Artist’s Studio with Bradley Butler, here.

Check out our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post, by ceramic artist Samantha Stumpf.