Ben Butler is interested in the natural world. "I look at the natural sciences as one example of how we interact with our world and understand it," he says. "And really at the root, my work is about understanding the world."
Drawing from diverse influences—musical composition, Chinese scholars’ rocks, and emergence theory, Butler generates forms that evoke simultaneously human design and natural growth. Butler’s new installation, Elegy to the Disappearance of Objects, is an exploration of these themes on a colossal scale. A grand and enigmatic form hovers above the viewer, suspended by an intricate and seemingly fragile wooden framework. It is segmented and richly textured, rhythmic yet amorphous. A strong sense of time and process pervades the artwork, as the structure seems to be at once both emerging and dissolving.
Butler's Elegy to the Disappearance of Objects exhibited at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, March 6 - June 6, 2015.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.
Ben Butler: Well, I have a lot of interest in the natural world - natural sciences and our relationship to the natural world. I look at the natural sciences as one example of how we interact with our world and understand it. And really at the root, my work is about understanding the world.
BB: I tend to see the world as a series of processes, not as static objects, but as things coming into being, dissolving, deteriorating, growing, shifting. And so in my work I want to embody that sense of time.
BB: I don't begin with an image or a design. In some ways I'm anti-design. I'm interested in working in the studio in a way that is free of preconceptions or plans. And in that way the work often feels more organic and, in the studio, seems like it's growing.
BB: Really, my work is about accumulation and how very complex and unpredictable things can be generated through the accumulation of simple parts.
BB: My name is Ben Butler. This is my art. Go find yours.