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Sunday, July 10, 2011
David Butler: Self-Taught Master
(Above) Seven Headed Dragon with Green Spots - 36” x 26” (Above) Mermaid - 10” x 23.75” (Above) Flying Elephant Whirligig - 18.75” x 32” (Above) Fanciful Animal - 32” x 27” (Above) Man, Fish, Rooster - 20” x 15.5”
TO MY KNOWLEDGE, there has never been a full-scale museum retrospective of self-taught artist David Butler (1898-1997). Perhaps someone will correct me if I am wrong. His work is great. An entire room of Butler’s work would bring much needed scholarship and understanding to this man’s artistic life. Butler’s understanding of form, his keen knowledge of spatial relationships, color, and sheer visual inventiveness is comparable to Matisse and his cut-outs. His repertoire of whimsical imagery, such as dragons, mermaids, people and animals of all kinds, not to mention the fact that much of his work was kinetic (dependent 0m wind), or designed to play with light (as with his window coverings)—only added to his original, inventive nature as an artist.
Mr. Butler lived in St. Mary’s Parish, Louisiana and was an environmental art builder. He would often work sitting on the ground with the tin between his legs, cutting the shapes with a modified ax head and hammer. His modest home and yard was covered in decorative tin cutouts, done as a way to bring beauty to his yard when the flowers died in the winter time.
Butler's work can be found at Gilley’s Galleryin Baton Rouge, Louisiana— 225.922.9225. Some of the the biographical facts above is from Gilley’s web site.