Kathy Butterly / Eggert Pétursson

19 January - 18 March 2023 i8 Gallery

i8 Gallery is pleased to present Butterly / Pétursson, a two-person show featuring new work by American ceramicist Kathy Butterly and Icelandic painter Eggert Pétursson. The exhibition opens with a reception for the artists on Thursday, 19 January from 5-7pm and will be on view until 4 March. 


Butterly and Pétursson are united in their deeply expressive bodies of work, as well as in their decades-long, rigorous dedication to their practices. Butterly and Pétursson’s shared exploration of depth and texture and their attention to detail result in energetic, viscerally powerful artworks. Both artists explore limits and capacities of colour through their technical mastery of glazes and paints: Butterly challenges the limits of ceramics, as Pétursson does a canvas. 


Process is vital to the artists’ practices, with both spending months, even years, building layers of texture and colour in their works. Butterly can fire a single work in a kiln up to forty times to achieve her ideal result; Pétursson laboriously creates deeply textured paintings. Their shared interest in materiality and the resulting tactile nature of their works allows for a complex interplay between Butterly and Pétursson’s sculptural and painterly forms.


Both artists work within self-imposed boundaries – Butterly in size and shape and Pétursson in subject – that allow for limitless exploration. Butterly consistently sculpts a repetitive form, which, despite its small scale, allows for endless colour variations and shifts in  formation. Pétursson’s focus is transferring the mystic Icelandic flora to canvas, and he devotes his practice to exploring the nuance and beauty of local botany. 


Butterly’s sculptures begin with two shapes: a cast of a mass-produced fishbowl, as well as a square. She pours wet porcelain clay into a plaster mold of the fishbowl, and then hand carves and sculpts the unfired clay. The work is then glazed and fired multiple times over months of careful consideration by the artist. The square bases on Butterly’s works, which she refers to as “podiums”, are an integral part of the sculpture and of equal importance to the bowl form that tops it.


Pétursson’s paintings are figurative representations of Icelandic flora and landscape, however the cropping and perspective of the visual plane creates abstracted elements throughout his work. The artist’s lifelong dedication to capturing Icelandic plant life has led to a masterful harnessing of nature’s energy onto a canvas. As he creates his works, which begin with ideas in sketchbooks, Pétursson uses thick layers of paint to illustrate and illuminate the Icelandic environment.  


Kathy Butterly (b. 1963, United States) lives and works in New York City, USA. She has had recent solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, MO; the Portland Museum of Art, ME; and the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis, CA. Recently, Butterly’s work was featured in group exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, AK; and the Anderson Collection at Stanford University, CA.


Eggert Pétursson (b. 1956, Iceland) lives and works in Reykjavik, Iceland. He studied at the Icelandic College of Art and Crafts, Reykjavik, and the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht. The artist has exhibited at The Living Art Museum, Reykjavik Art Museum, Museum Fodor, Amsterdam and Pori Art Museum, Pori, Finland. Pétursson received the second prize of the Carnegie Art Award 2006  (Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Reykjavik, Copenhagen and Nice).
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