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international painting annual 2 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Bain Butcher
Knoxville, Tennessee

Adjunct Instructor of Art, Maryville College
and Owner, Bain Butcher Studio

pages 58-59

detail image


Much of my work seeks to evoke crystallized, meditative moments constructed around single figures embedded in austere metaphorical environments. Often stripped of overt narrative cues, the environments are designed to heighten contrasts between the vitality and humanity of the subject and the deadness or banality of their circumstance.  As the "natural‰ increasingly succumbs to the "artificial‰ it is unclear how humans will interface with a rapidly changing cultural, spiritual, and biological ecology.  We risk destroying the context for activities we consider to be uniquely human.

My recent paintings depict figures immersed in expansive environments of unnatural cadmium lemon yellow.  The figures metaphorically contend both with the antagonistic opticality and the chemical toxicity of this background pigment.  These meta-natural environments must be survived not merely encountered.  

Creation of the work required the construction of a yellow studio enclosure where selected models could work within a space analogous to the fictional space of the canvas.  This approach provided the paintings with a connection to authentic experience.  Each model‚s unique engagement with the conditions of the yellow room allowed the paintings to become real records of the tension created between the humanity of the individuals and the chromatic monotony of the space.  Light and gesture further mediate between the figure and ground suggesting that suspended discordance may resolve itself into meaningful harmony.


born: 1968, United States


New York Academy of Art, MFA (cum laude), 2006
University of Cincinnati, MD, 1995
Davidson College, BS (cum laude), 1990

selected awards/honors

Semifinalist, ONE.2, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH, 2012
Semifinalist, Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 2009
First Prize, Tallahassee International, Museum of Fine Arts, FSU, Tallahassee, FL, 2008
FIne Art Connoisseur Magazine Award, selected by Peter Trippi, Ed., Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, 2006

selected publications

INDA 6, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH, 2011
Noel Feely, The Works of Bain Butcher, NOW, Penn State Altoona, 2011
Kelly Hider, Continuare:  The Figurative Tradition in Contemporary Art - Bain Butcher, 2010
Peter Trippi, Young Talent, Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, 2006


selected solo or two-person exhibits

Athens Art Center:  Bain Butcher Paintings, Athens, TN, 2012
McClanahan Gallery, Penn State Altoona:  Bain Butcher Paintings, Altoona, PA, 2011
Clayton Center for the Arts, Maryville College:  Recent Paintings, Maryville, TN, 2010


selected group shows

Manifest Gallery:  HIGH:  Realism's Realism, Cincinnati, OH, 2013
Buckham Gallery:  Accelerated Aggregate, Flint, MI, 2012
Circle Gallery:  Strokes of Genius, Annapolis, MD, 2012
Masur Museum of Art:  Group Exhibitions,  Monroe, LA, 2012



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