It is absolutely amazing what Ben Butler can do with a piece of wood. His latest romp with cedar has given rise to an eclectic fusion of sculpture and work on paper. “Furrow,” a grand layering of multi-colored cedar is reminiscent of cave stalagmites and stalactites. The freestanding sculptures “Untitled” and “Mutation” are both intricately constructed pieces sensitive to form and space. It might initially seem that the works on paper are a result of a painting technique using a brush or drawing tools. However, wood is once again the culprit. Butler implements a process of woodblock mono-printing and in this manner sculpted cedar blocks are carved and arranged, inked and printed onto paper. The compositions consist of various geometrical planes optically complex and intriguing. Butler’s process further pushes the capabilities of the material by altering a three-dimensional object so that it appears two-dimensional. Every stage in the process is itself a work of art: the shape and condition of the cedar found, the preliminary drawing, the maquette, the tactile chiseling away of wood and, finally, the work of fine art. (Karissa Lang)
Through April 12 at Zg Gallery, 300 W. Superior.