Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Blindfold

April 14th, 2021 by jack | No Comments | Filed in book, drawing, installation, Uncategorized

Blindfold was an exhibition and is an artist’s book that includes 176 drawings made by the artist while blindfolded as a performance of/coming to terms with his personal experience of grieving.  The drawings were first exhibited at the Red Head Gallery in 2017. The book is free to download from Blindfold Press.

Click on thumbnails to view full-size image.

FROM THE BLINDFOLD BOOK

Introduction

Drawing blindfold at the service of grieving.

Jack Butler exhibits 176 small intimate drawings made to come to terms with his personal experience of grieving. As an unedited visual journal, the drawings are arranged by date in a continuous line throughout the gallery.

“I move the marking pen over a surface that I cannot see. I am drawing in a synaesthetic response to haptic impulses – speed, pressure, gestures, unfolding patterns, often words, sometimes symbols. These images, visible only to the mind’s eye, play across an imaginary space (a space that often feels much larger than the physical paper could possibly contain). I am clear about where marks should go in this not-visible picture.

What am I not doing? I am not recording what sight could see. I am not organizing the representation of space according to pictorial conventions. I am not making decisions in response to aesthetic judgements. My attention is focused entirely on process. So I do not look at what I have “drawn” for several days, often a week, separating intention from outcome.

When I remove my blindfold, I see surprising pictures that speak directly to me about my experience of grieving, all-be-it in a foreign but strangely familiar pictorial language.

Haptic in the making, visual in the receiving, the two blindfold drawing phases remain entwined for me, learning, as we all eventually must learn, how to live with grief.”

Jack Butler

Artist’s Statement

I draw. Drawing-as-process has taken me into diverse media for the realization of my ideas – extended into sculptural modelling, computer animation, video installation and performances. I use the means and methods of visual art to produce hybrid research in two domains – medical science (primary research in human embryogenesis) and collaborations with Inuit artists (the current project, ‘Art & Cold Cash’). These two life practices, dominating my exhibition history and my public presence, have been progressively generating a third ‘space’ in between: an internal dialogue – intimate, body-centered, hesitant, sexual.

One strong cultural and professional context for my research and production is my collaborations, since 1969, with Inuit artists in Nunavut. Currently (2003-12) this collaboration takes the form of art-based research in Baker Lake (Qamanituaq), and exhibitions as a member of the five-person collective Art & Cold Cash. A print record of these researches and exhibitions, the book Art and Cold Cash, was published by YYZ Books in January 2010 and in FUSE MAGAZINE, Money, Aesthetics and Double Difference (issue 35-2, NORTH, Spring 2012).

I have since 1976 participated as a visual artist in medical research projects focusing on human embryological development; work published in scientific contexts. Parallel with these projects, I produce studio based installations that deconstruct my scientifically focused research and attempt to reify the creative processes at work in my trans-disciplinary practice. The video projection installations, Genesis of Breath, and Fatemap: Would you like to know what will happen? are current examples. And the third ‘space’, the intimate bodily spaces in between, is motivating Dark Body, a small, highly focused exhibition drawn from five projects at the intersection of art and medical research.

These drawings instantiate the question: Could the body stand in the place of the limen between two historically defined solitudes? Can the body be represented as an ontologically transparent layer through which art and science are mutually visible?

Dark Body

November 11th, 2014 by jack | No Comments | Filed in audio, drawing, installation, multimedia, Uncategorized

Dark Body is a small, highly focused exhibition drawn from five projects at the intersection of art and medical research. These drawings instantiate the question: Could the body stand in the place of the limen between two historically defined solitudes? Can the body be represented as an ontologically transparent layer through which art and science are mutually visible?

Click on thumbnails to view full-size image

Video demonstration of the sound table:

Occam’s Hand, (touch sensitive audio drawing installation, in collaboration with sound artist Chandra Bulucon and software designer Doug Back), 2014. Video recorded by Andre Jodoin

The five interactive songs that play in response to the instruction – “Caress the drawing firmly”, were composed and recorded by sound artist Chandra Bulucon:

Inferno_Song5

Climbing the Steps_Song 3_D4

JButler_HAND_Shoulder Fear_Song 1

Drawing_Song 4_D2

My Body_Song 2

Essay by Andre Jodoin:

“Dark Body (an introduction)

“In Dark Body I examine some works by Jack Butler in my first attempt to think about relations between a theory of practice and a theory of art with respect to a specific artist and their works. It appears to me that art criticism often conflates techniques of production with practices. My aim here is to simply raise that issue, sharpen the distinction, and consider the appropriateness of a theory of art to a theory of practice… ” [link to full essay (.pdf): Andre.DarkBody_full essay]

More info about the artist on the website of the Red Head Gallery: http://www.redheadgallery.org/jack-butler/

XXX Zine

October 17th, 2013 by jack | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

The XXX Zine is a project by Ho Tam in which he invites artists to create a small publication (‘zine), printed in a limited edition of 100. Talking: A Lover’s Discourse was created in 2013. Learn more or purchase a copy on the XXX Zine website, or download a PDF version here.

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Queer Erotica

July 3rd, 2011 by admin | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

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Drawings by William Blake by Jack Butler

July 3rd, 2011 by admin | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

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Red Drawings for “Art and Cold Cash”

July 3rd, 2011 by admin | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

(StoryBones Games: Traditionally, Inuit arrange the head bones of a large lake trout into patterns telling stories of heroes while voicing current domestic conflict. The closer the telling cuts to the “bone of contention”, the greater the audience’s respect).

Here, I play the StoryBones game myself, drawing on the shapes of the bones. The contents of my Qamanituaq Diary derive from my arctic visual diaries, 1969 to the present engagement. A new drama is created with each new installation-configuration. Playing the game extends to the touch sensitive audio-drawing installation My earliest memory of money is selling flower seeds door to door.

Boys In Love

July 3rd, 2011 by admin | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

Mixed fabric quilt in silk, cotton and rayon, based on original pencil drawings by Jack Butler.

Digital images transferred to fabric.

Interpretation of drawings in thread painting by Vicki Cal.

Piecing and quilting by Bernice Green.

June 2009, Toronto

Picturing Fatemaps

December 6th, 2010 by admin | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

I use the means and methods of visual art to produce medical research. The resulting hybrid research images are alive in the cultures of both art and science.

My foundational practice is drawing. However, drawing-as-process has taken me into diverse technologies for the realization of my ideas, and has extended into sculptural modeling, computer animation, video installation, and performance art. Drawing, as a technology-of-the-hand, for me, has become a somatechnics (bodily being as always already technologised, and a technology always already enfleshed).

Picturing Fatemaps is comprised of three distinct elements:

First, my computer animation, Genital Embryogenesis plays continuously on a video monitor.

Second, a contextualizing discourse, Picturing Genital Embryogenesis addresses the biological and social-critical investigation of sexual differentiation in the human embryo.

The animation, Genital Embryogenesis, and the full paper, Picturing Genital Embryogenesis, are available on this web site.

Third, Fatemap: would you like to know what will happen?, is a theatrical, video projection construction, comprised of multiple layers of paintings on clear vinyl (paintings that represent  embryological development of the face and the genitals), through which palimpsest one views the projected video Nipples, a compilation of live performances where I draw explanations of genital development on the skin – on my body and on the bodies of friends.

My choice of locally found step ladders as supports for Fatemap: would you like to know what will happen, and my use of set-it-up, take-it-down portable materials also emphasize the theatrical, performative, contingent nature of the work – my work is play. And the role of fate, represented by the biological concept of the fatemap, is also a metonym for the theatrical, performative, contingent and unstable development of genital sex, gender and sexual identity.

By bringing the sensuous tools of picturing into the research laboratory to contribute to the rigor of the scientific research team, while, in the studio and gallery, positioning this research onto the body and into the zones of touch, sex and the erotic, my purpose is to offer more accurate social and aesthetic discriminations and adequate frames when conceptualizing and representing the process of sexual differentiation in the embryo.

Click on the image thumbnails at right to listen to an audio description of each

DOWNLOAD: Picturing Genital Embryogenesis (.doc – 53kb)

Genesis of Breath

September 8th, 2007 by admin | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

Genital Embryogenesis

December 7th, 2005 by admin | No Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

The animation, ‘Genital Embryogenesis” 2005, is based on my participation as a member of a research team – urological surgeon, pediatric endocrinologist, radiologist, geneticist and artist – at Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg, Canada, 1976-1980.

My charge was to make models representing both the normal and anomalous development of the genitals in the human embryo. My primary research methods included direct observation of embryos, analysis of ultrasound imaging, photography of collections of specimens, and a review of extant illustrated literature.

Modeling in plasticine clay, “Genital Embryogenesis” begins without textual explanation making five stages of normal development visible. The initial (indifferent) pre-genital structure differentiates, first into female then male polar extremes of the possible spectrum of genital anatomies. The animation then re-plays these images supported by my personal, partly scientific-technical, partly poetic, textual explanation of genital embryogenesis.

I believe that, because the way we see our individual genitals is culturally loaded with signification, it is neither possible nor desirable to represent genital development without acknowledged bias. Sexual difference is a critical social marker imbued with the politics of power. My personal choices in constructing these models, their graphic representation and texts, express my theoretical and existential understanding of the biological process. I have, for example, rejected the traditional position of the subject, lying on her/his back, presenting the genitals for public examination. In “Genital Embryogenesis”, I position the genital “upside down” in relation to the frame, similar to its more natural position in the womb. This reorientation re-contextualizes the embryo and, therefore, the genitals, in relation to the mother. For me, this position sheds the unacknowledged practice of objectification and disempowerment implicit in virtually all representations of the genitals, whether in the scientific literature or in popular pornography.

I believe, also, that the text and images of “Genital Embryogenesis” suggest the possibility that these stages of genital embryogenesis may make visible – expose the look of – the potential range of adult genitals between the imaginary ideals of female and male.