André Butzer came to international attention more than 15 years ago for his audaciously colored and thickly slathered paintings of cartoonish figures. He increasingly focused on abstract painting and in 2010 started an ongoing series that explored the maximal potential of paintings through apparently reductive means. Consisting of single vertical and horizontal black bars emerging from what were initially gray backgrounds, Butzer made the works in a manner that recalled the controlled lines of geometric abstraction. Neither serial nor geometric however, his paintings contribute to a tradition of handmade, nuanced abstraction related to the more philosophical explorations of Mondrian.
The latest works at Metro Pictures are a continuation of this concentrated exercise. Large and imposing, they have developed to include only vast fields of black with thin gaps of white on the right side of the canvas. The ostensible uniformity of the paintings underlines the variations between them. Seen together, gradations of color and brushstroke become visible, and a sense of motion and static in the pictures manifests. The intricate subtleties of these enigmatic paintings reveal the subjectivity of their making.
The book is published on occasion of the exhibition at Metro Pictures.