Nothing was ever not about color. Color is a potency, a fusion. The blacks and light were color, too. I only left things behind in order to reach a limit to return from. I consider myself a colorist. – André Butzer
German artist André Butzer pushes painting to every possible limit. Moving back and forth between abstract and representational works, the artist relentlessly pursues his goal of exploring the most inherent properties of paint. Describing his approach, he has said:
What I see are proportions of color and therefore light. No figures. I also don´t see such things people identify with what they think is abstract. Abstraction has become a naturalism in itself. I try to organize and measure paint, color and light. Sometimes to me the ones with figures in them just look like pink, red or violet monochromes!
Here, in an untitled work from 2019, the cast of oddball, cartoonish characters that often populate Butzer’s work stand in a line with large patches of loosely applied paint for bodies. The dark blue paint that makes up the eyes, gloves, and legs creates a rhythm of dots and lines moving across the bright fields of color, unifying the over-the-top composition. Like much of Butzer’s work, what at first feels straightforward and awkward reveals itself to be a carefully calibrated exploration of the historical power of painting. Solo shows of Butzer’s work have been organized by a number of museums, and his work is in the collections of the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; Carré d’art, Nîmes; LA MoCA, Los Angeles; Phoenix Art Museum; MONA, Tasmania; and Marciano Collection, Los Angeles, among others.