John Carroll

 

The Butterbiggens Prize is pleased to announce our featured artist for July, John Carroll.

Recently completing a large scale collage of a full breakfast as part of an exhibition in France, Carroll works in pastels and acrylic paint, largely on paper. Please click through for a short profile and some images.

Have you seen any good painting shows lately?

As you know I spent some time in France recently, I went to the City art gallery in Lille and really enjoyed looking at there collection of 18th-century French paintings, they also have a superb collection of European medieval religious sculptures.

french children visiting the exhibit 

A follow-up question, is there any artist from the past who you think is due for a critical renaissance? Either someone who was always underrated or someone who became unfashionable who you think should get a second look? 

I have a particular interest in still life and have been a bit obsessed with the work of the 18th century painter Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin lately. I know he is a renowned master who is widely admired, but I don’t think he has had a retrospective exhibition in the UK for a long time, I think it would be great for young artists to see his work, He was greatly admired by the progressive artists of the cubist movement.

Curious about the subject matter seems very British in a way, but parallel to artists who make images of junk food in other countries, or perhaps there is something about the ironic still life which is of the moment, wonder how it was received in France.

The idea to make an image of a plate of food grew out of a series of still life compositions I have been working on for the past four years. The compositions consisted of objects that myself and my partner had accumulated over the years from our family, placed on our kitchen table . These were intermingled with everyday ephemera from our everyday life {kitchen utensils, gas bills etc} . I decided to focas on what we all do at a kitchen table , which is eat . My Mother passed away a few years ago and I was thinking about the family ritual of making meals etc , The meal depicted in this artwork is a typical meal that my mother might have made for me , sausage egg chips etc , and this is the same meal that i have prepared for my own children . So the idea behind this artwork is to celebrate the humble everyday plate of food, made with love. Strangely enough the exhibition opening was on the 29th March , which was supposed to be the date UK left the EU . There was no political message I was trying to say in this work . It was fascinating to here the response from people who visited the show , whoever heard of a plate of northern grub as being BEAUTIFUL !! also they thought that we put cream on our food , because Uk mayonnaise is white , its yellow in France , and our peas ? why are they say crazy luminous green?

 

https://artistjohncarroll.tumblr.com/

 

interview by Ben Duax 

 

Beatrice Mar

 

Our Featured Painter for the month of June is Beatrice Mar, based in the south of England. Also working as a curator, Beatrice mines shifting details of memory to catalog interior states of her subjects.  Please click through for a short interview and some photographs of recent work.

 

First, Have you seen any really good painting shows lately?  

The last exhibition with paintings that I saw was at Hauser & Wirth in Somerset, it was called the Unconscious Landscape with works from the Ursula Hauser collection. They had a couple of Maria Lassnig paintings which I always wanted to see. Also a series of Eva Hesse paintings which had a very disengaged feeling, almost like a confessional or trying to expel an event in to the canvas.

All-focus

as a follow up, is there any artist from the past who you think is due for a critical renaissance? Either someone who was always underrated or someone who became unfashionable who you think should get a second look?

I have a soft spot for Jean Baptiste Camille Corot, his famous paintings don’t easily disclose his mastery of colour and understanding of painting techniques. I saw some his studies when I was doing my course in old master painting techniques and absolutely loved him. I think that whole era of romanticism is bound to have a come back in painting, not exactly with the content but the principles of it.

Your work has to do with changing states of memory, I wonder if that’s applicable specifically to painting in a way that’s different from other mediums, perhaps related to process? 

the difficulty in representing the changing states of memory with painting is for the first part finding ways to portray missing senses that make up a memory, as in movement, smell and touch or taste. Storytelling in this sense requires layers of both abstract and representational elements to create a ‘third word’ ,almost like a ven diagram, which can then articulate the process of time being consumed in a two dimensional frame.

The pacifier kind of reminds me of Hans Belmar, but also of 90’s rave culture, I’ve also seen some of your work that suggests tarot cards, I wonder if there are other visual references or motifs that you’d care to elaborate on?

some of the symbols that I use have a reference to a country I have lived in, whether that is political or cultural. The tarot and playing cards are predominately a reference to superstitious beliefs in Greek culture, as well as childhood memories. I really enjoy the playful relationship between abstract forms on representational elements.
As for the pacifiers, I was trying to think of a symbol that related to perfection. One of the most common times you will hear that is at the birth of a child, how they are perfect. In contrast to that, when an adult is represented with a pacifier it signifies a silencer, politically speaking, a way of keeping quiet to avoid compromising their necessities.
interview by Ben Duax 

Harriet Foster

We took a month off because of some chaos here in Glasgow, The Greggs website was down, Billy McNeill died, a hectic April.  So welcome back, This month we are profiling Bristol based artist Harriet Foster, working largely with oil, but also in expanded contexts of sculpture and fashion.

Have you seen any really good painting shows lately?

I recently saw the Franz West exhibition in London – which was really fun/silly and interesting. Not necessary a painter but his works cross disciplines. Sometimes I get too critical of painting and what painting is and can be and sometime being silly and making objects and works and creating is most important thing- this is what I took from the exhibition. His sculptures are really very interesting and friendly – inviting you to want to play with them.

There are also a few exhibitions I need to check out in Bristol.

1. at Bocabar in Bristol – included some painters that are based in Caraboo studios. Lots of very delicious paintings.

2. Jackson Woodcock solo show at Kosar. He has some very surface sculptural paintings. We had our fellowship together at spike island and have exhibited a couple times together with the Art collective that he runs called DOIY collective. https://www.instagram.com/doiycollective/

A follow up question, is there any artist from the past who you think is due for a critical renaissance? Someone who you think is underrated, who informs your work?

Auto destructive art manifesto by Gustav Metzger Is very relevant exploration especially for our current and ongoing worsening issues surround climate change and governmental issues.

I am very interested in the idea, within destruction lies creation and visa versa. Along with the idea that nothing is something.  And Auto destructive art plays around with destruction being apart of the creation of the works. Gustav Metzger used acid to paint with on nylon fabrics as a protest against nuclear war. I like the idea of how the art does not contain a precious content to the artist. That it is meant to slowly deconstruct itself, and by that allowing this to happen fulfils the art works purpose.

I believe his concepts and ideas surround art being publicly accessible is one worth exploring and investigating more.

Harriets Work installed at Spike Island , 2018 

Curious about Bristol, if there is a specific style or anything going on you think people don’t know about?

Yeah for sure, its an intriguing place with little secret artist cubby holes – as one would have guessed there is a lot of graffiti works in Bristol.But there is definitely an art scene and slowly more artist spaces opening up in and around Bristol. Bedminster in the south of Bristol has a lot more artist run studios and spaces opening up. As well as friends living in warehouses putting on events unofficially on. Theres also a great event at spike island called spike open studios that happens once a year.

 

2018 Mixed media piece with Andrew Willson

Could you talk a little about the collaborative process? 

Yeah I feel collaboration is different depending on who you work with and what styles you have. The collaboration between Andrew and me I think was sort of worked by understanding how one and other worked independent. Initially I had created a diy exposure unit in my studio which we also tested out with the help of Andrews knowledge and experience in print making. so we started off by drawing images and objects which we then exposed the images on to a screen ready to screen print on to canvas. Which was a time consuming process but a great experiment. Then adding found images. So Andrew collects a lot of images from magazines so we started by selecting some images and deciding on the composition with the combination of painting. Arranging the images and colours within the space. It was also interesting as it was the first time Andrew had tried oil paints. It was a great learning process all round. Really enjoyable and made some really interesting Art and screen printings. Andrew recently had an exhibition at Kosar in Bristol.

 

Recommend to check out his instagram –

 

www.instagram.com/andrew_sux

How about a lighter question, Tell us about a guilty pleasure, like an action movie or a pop record, something dumb that you’ve been into lately?

To be honest I have been very busy with Art and also working. Spare time is quite valuable. hehe. I have just completed an online residency with Rung a digital and online website platform for artists. I’ve been teaching myself how to create animation gif’s on photoshop timeline. Ive also been working on paintings and getting ready for my Solo show which is opening on the 3rd of May at Gloucester Guildhall till the 31st of May. If your about check it out! Also just had fantastically exciting news, that I have been accepted on to a residency in London with AucArt.  A live-in residency in central London for 6 weeks starting from the 12th of May. Many exciting things happening.

 

Thank you very much for the Interview

 

Harriet x

 

 

++++

May, 2019, Interview by Ben Duax

 

Pao-Leng Kung

The painter featured this month is London based Pao-Leng Kung. Her mixed media painting Gentle Monster, is from 2019. Please see below the fold for a short interview.
Gentle monster
27x22cm
Mixed media
2019
Pao-Leng Kung    works in London, and sent us the painting Gentle Monster. Recently featured in Average Art Magazine no 30 we talked about about the use of negative space and three dimensionality of Acrylic paint.
Have you seen any really good painting shows lately?
 I have visited Ryan Sullivan’s show at Sadie Coles HQ. It is intriguing for me, especially the materiality, the texture and those unpredictable moment within every pieces. 
I like this painting from last year, In the Blink of an Eye , is three dimensional assembalge kind of a new direction for you?
2. Indeed, it is one of my approaches. I’m interested in the pictorial and sculptural space. I keep thinking about how to open up the space through my works and the relationship between painting itself and the space around it. That is why I am using irregular surface and found object within my working process so often at this stage.
In the Blink of an Eye  45 x 45cm, 2018
You seem to mostly paint with acrylic paint, Do you think acrylic paint has a different relationship to the found objects you’ve been using then if it were oil?
I’m consistently experimenting different materials and surfaces. The acrylic paint is quite suitable for me to try out.And I even could easily use acrylic paint to make a small sculpture. 
Curious what you’ve been reading lately, any critical or historical texts that are relevant to your work.
 Recently, I do research about Japanese Aesthetic relates to negative space. All my works are based on the concept of ‘negative space’, and I found that there are nuanced differences between Eastern and Western culture. For me, my practise is more similar with the ethereal concept within Japanese Aesthetic.
How about something dumb that you’ve been into lately, like an action movie or something, could you tell us about some guilty pleasure?
Actually, I always feel like I am making dumb stuff when I play with the materials. But those dumb stuffs also have huge potential to inspire me. Full of surprising and unpredictable moment.
3/19, Benjamin  Duax 

Kelly Ewing

 

The first recipient of the new year is Belfast based artist Kelly Ewing,  whose paintings  navigate themes of abjection
and the monstrous feminine. Through a practice which incorporates painting as a performative act , Ewing investigates the archetype of the ‘monstrous woman’ or ‘femme castratrice’.

 

 

 

 

The spray paint on the floor is kind of interesting, would you call these paintings  site specific ?

 

Cool question, one that I don’t really get asked too often… On one hand, I
would say I do consider them to be site specific as the paintings are (in my
mind) a product of their immediate environment. I like to continue accidental
marks I find on the studio walls or floors onto the surface of the work, allowing
them to sort of become a by-product of this accidental and purposeful mark
making from previous work. Sometimes I enjoy deliberately continuing pools
of colour from the beds onto the ground too, which is completely individual to
the environment I make the work in. However, I’m not against creating these
same marks when installing work in gallery spaces- I don’t do this too often
though cos it does feel forced and inauthentic in certain spaces, I think it
depends on the actual work itself and the energy I feel from it and whether it
needs to be situated this obviously.

 

 

I Haven’t heard to much about the Belfast art scene, is anyone else working there who you think people should check out?  Could be one of your peers or someone more established.

The art scene here in Belfast is dynamic and exciting, there’s a really big
emphasis on sculpture and performance, and some really cool contemporary
painters. I’ll be cheeky and give you two recommendations: the first one is an
established painter & a lecturer on my BA; Chris Hanlon. Find his work on
www.christopherhanlonartist.com and on instagram at @chrishanlonpainting
His paintings are cinematic and atmospheric. Secondly, I’ll recommend you
check out my peer and fellow recent graduate Phil Keers. His practice is
based around sculpture installation and performance dealing with gender,
sexuality and language, he’s on instagram at @philkeers and
www.philkeers.com.

 

Inside,2018.Spray,paint,household emulsion,acrylic paint, oil pastel charcoal,sequin attached letters and attached fur.-151cm-x-182cm.jpg

 

Curious if there are any older artists from the UK or Ireland who you think are kind of underrated? Like someone whose work you appreciate but who doesn’t come up much. Or the same question for rest of the world. Just someone you’d think is deserving of a critical renascence.

He isn’t an ‘older artist’ in the sense I would usually think of, but I am really
excited by John Walters work. I first discovered him when his exhibition
‘Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness’ opened in The MAC in Belfast in
2018, at the beginning of my final year. It was the first time I could see the
kind of work I felt I properly understood and related to in my own country, as
usually big touring shows here can be quite conservative and * dry *. So yeah,
I’m a huge fan of John Walters and I feel like we are only really at the tip of
the iceberg! I don’t think he comes up in discourse an awful lot even though
his work is so important and controversial. His show ‘Alien Sex Club’ in the
Wellcome Collection in London was MAD. I’m excited!!!

What have you been reading lately?

I am always into anything regarding the monstrous feminine and the abject! I
enjoy Freud’s theory of the Oedipus complex although it can be a bit
problematic. Recently I’m re-reading Julia Kristeva’s ‘Powers of Horror’ and
for fun I’m re-reading William Blattys ‘The Exorcist’.

 

How about something dumb that you’ve been into lately, like an action movie or something, could you tell us about some guilty pleasure?

LOL, I’ve always been really into conspiracy theories and true crime podcasts
so I’ve seen and watched most of the worthwhile ones (in my humble opinion)
so at the minute I’m listening to a true crime/conspiracy theory/generally weird
things podcast on Spotify called ‘Those Conspiracy Guys’, basically an irish
guy and guests talking about some spooky things. Five stars!

Last question,  Van Morrison or Gary Moore?

GARY MOORE cos Thin Lizzy.

 

 

interviewed by Benjamin Duax, Feb 6th, 2019.

Bex Massey

 

Our Artist for December 2018, is Bex Massey, Based out of London and working in the uneasy space where paintings negotiate their status within a larger immersive work, Bex described her work as reflecting the especially disposable nature of British pop culture.  verisimilitude brushes against neon over saturation and advertising language to create something unnerving. A large portion of the paintings on her website are installed either on the edges of tables, or balancing  on balls, see-saws, etc. Like pies on windowsills, their is a liminal quality, where the viewer seems to  have arrived just in time.

This treatment occasionally produces delightful spring-loaded juxtapositions, A close cropped realistic portrait of Owen Wilson balances on a see-saw mirror surrounded by plastic palm trees, aside from its excursion into the expanded field, the only jarring element of the painting itself is Wilson’s eyes, dilated to extreme  blackness like the x-files bee dome monster. I was completely befuddled by a painting of Nelson Mandela from the same year, installed in a similar way,painted in a lighter wash. 

 

 

‘Soft Brexit’ 2018, oil and enamel on canvas with inflatable banana.

105.5cm x 84cm x 18cm

There is an element of installation in this work, or sculptural presentation, do you feel like the paintings change dramatically in different contexts? is there some tension here?
I do think it changes in different contexts and this is why I like to alter and distort the manner
of display. I also enjoy balancing stretchers on inflatables, stacking them on top of each
other and suspending them from the ceiling as painting comes with a huge amount of history
of art regarding how we should view it in terms of value, curation and subject matter.
Sometimes its good not to fall in line.

(installation view)

 

Images sourced from pop culture/advertising, the lucky charms leprechaun or the turkey packaging, could you tell us a bit about sourcing these images?
I appropriate imagery from my childhood. This 80s 90s overlap is accessible to all and
doesn’t take itself very seriously. In an era where we are desensitized to peoples suffering
due to a stratospheric over use of imagery thrown at us via the Media-looking at dated
recognisable packaging and nostalgic prints brings a certain safety to it.

(From Bex’s solo show “ÀHHÁÀHHÁ-” at Slugtown, Newcastle.  photo Matt Wilkinson)

Would you call these optimistic paintings?

Maybe optimistic in the manner in which I choose playful imagery to discuss difficult topics.
Maybe more tongue in cheek?

(From Bex’s solo show “ÀHHÁÀHHÁ-” at Slugtown, Newcastle.  photo Matt Wilkinson, Described as a single immersive painting)

Favourite Beatles song? another question to ground the prize in the UK.
Hey Jude

Best Greggs Item? curious if you got the vegan sausage roll, I’ve seen a few online think pieces about vegan items in fast food and what they ~mean~

Sausage Roll.!! I have taken up the vegan/traditional taste trial and happy to report that the
vegan option weighs in real strong.

 

 

Interview by Ben Duax, 14/1/2019

Jae Jo

 

We are pleased to announce the inaugural recipient of the Butterbiggens Prize in British Painting.

Jae Jo, coming from Korea by way of the Royal College of Art, creates new constellations of meaning from the detritus of the city. Sensual yet understated paintings which straddle the line between painting and installation. Please see images  of thier work below, as well as a short interview.

 

 

Summing up Flexibility 5 , acrylic on canvas, 130x130cm, 2018
While Jae was the painter who really caught our attention, we did receive a lot of strong work. In particular, work by the following artists stood out, and we feel bears honourable mention.
Ioana Baltan
Gergely Bukovinszki
Fred Cadium
Arabella Hilfiker
Sarah Victoria Spence
Sam Tahmassebi
Thank you to everyone who submitted, and please see below for a short conversation between Jae Jo and Butterbiggens jurist Ben Duax

How has your painting changed since coming to the UK?

The painting has a tendency to redrawn from its own generative questions so I see practice has to be the exploration of this edge between it being something and yet being part of a risk of disappearing outside of the elected boundary through which it is named. Based on my notion forwards painting, I have started to do wall-painting and created sculpted landscapes. The wall painting as painting degrades to the background while there are an object and performance with a musical instrument and during the process, it remains painting. The performance is a catalyst between painting and sculpture.

These days, However, I express my sensual order by randomly extracting debris of the cityscape, so to say, the leftover fragments of the greater system. I particularly collects vibrant colors from products and outlines from images to recompose them into drawing, painting, sculpture, animation, sound, and installation. Installation works that combine painting and sculpture. Each work articulates a spontaneous movement of an image forming into one lump. As a collection, the unit of time given to each work by myself in accordance with the gallery space as well as the elements of the image continuously gather and disperse. The result is an unexpected scenery of sensation.

Jae enjoys the fruits of her Bursury  

Are there any emerging UK painters whose work your really

excited about?

I had studied painting with Josefina Nelimarkka from Helsinki at Royal College of Art and she is currently in SPACE Art + Technology artist in residence, London. Her exploring the invisible world of air and future climates using materials such as fabrics and glass inspired me a lot. Especially, her work let me think what the painting is.

What about other emerging UK artists?

Olivia Bax, sculptor. I saw his work at FOLD Gallery early this year and I love his magnificent sculpture.

Anyone from your school who you think people should be excited about?

Bianca Barandun has graduated printmaking last year and we met in the same art residency at Unit1 Gallery over a month ago. She makes her own paper to draw and paint. I was so shocked when I first saw this method and of course the outcomes are brilliant.

Any established UK artists that you think are underrated?

A few years ago, I thought Anthea Hamilton was but now… haha

What about an artist from outside the UK that you find exciting?

Erkka Nissinen from Finland. I had a chance to see his works at one of the museum in Helsinki and Blain Southern gallery in London. I really enjoyed his ridiculous animation, weird sculptures and small drawing. His work may not look great at all but super charming stunning and very unique.

Favourite Beatles song?

Of course, Yellow Submarine. Even there is the same title in my work.

a Artists Repast

28/11/208