Eric’s work was visually in my head for years and familiar through his German gallery, though it needed a nudge from my gallery director Clara to do a studio visit, which often makes all the difference. Eric’s studio, a converted barn in the countryside is a place of tranquility, creativity and precision. To push paint along shaped pieces of aluminum while letting slight changes in pressure and imperfections in the material determine the colour code and composition can only derive from an astonishing mixture of skilled workmanship and artistic obsession. The resulting surfaces are subtle and stunning, installed in space, dispersed over corners, corridors or in staircases they become architecture in motion.
Eric Butcher is a painter, who brings abstract works to life, which effectively set different colour schemes into movement: from vibrant red and pink to bright blue and muted grey. Moreover, Butcher is a designer. He denies classical image carriers such as canvas and instead applies his paint directly onto aluminum plates using a variety of metal blades to strip off single layers of oil paint or graphite suspended in resin. This procedure is then repeated, slowly building up an accumulation of thin residues.
The effect of the surface is thus quite unique for a work of painting as the reflective coating allows an examination from different perspectives and changing effects depending on the light conditions and how one approaches the works. The visual outcome is determined by three factors; the physical characteristics of the support, the physical characteristics of the instrument of stripping and the interaction of the above mediated by the artist’s hand. Even though Butcher has systematised the creative act to a certain extent and the painterly process is distilled to a set of rituals, the manual processing is still perceptible in the way the paint is applied and the metal blade moved. The arising tonalities make every single plate distinctive and unique.
Butcher’s works have different formats such as rectangles or circles and the artist also experiments with rolled aluminum in curved shapes. The compositions have an architectural feel thanks to the precise edges and the industrial support. In many cases the colour studies extend over 4 to 5 plates and are hung as diptychs, triptychs or series. Or the artist combines single works with untreated aluminum plates to intensify the effect of the coloured plates. Butcher’s works, whether small or bigger in size, respond to the surrounding spaces. In particular the installations consisting of many variable parts amounting to sometimes large-scale architectural interventions can span whole wall sections or over several floors.
Eric Butcher has exhibited extensively in the UK and internationally with shows in Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Australia and the USA. Furthermore Butcher’ installations have been commissioned by private collectors and corporate collections worldwide.
Exhibitions at the gallery:
Sweet Heresy, 2020, (solo show)
Data Capture, 2015 (solo show)
Down to Zero, 2014 (group show with Prunella Clough, David Connearn, Simón Granell, Andrea Gregson, Alex Hamilton, Brifget Riley, Michael Roberts, Dieter Roth and Piers Wardle)