Finding Beauty in the simple objects that furnish everyday life is the impetus for Grace Butterfield’s process and the pleasure of viewing her work. In her still-life oil paintings, handmade, timeworn tableware is arranged with a stylish insouciance and rendered in detail. Inviting us to see subtle colours and textural nuances, the artist shares an appreciation for the artisanal that began as a child and continued through her work in fashion and interiors.
Grace’s architect mother was an early creative influence. “Our home was filled with colour and texture, and Mum would spend weekends rearranging objects to create beautiful vignettes,” she says. “I inherited her handwriting.” Growing up, Grace spied a book on Italian painter Giorgio Morandi. “I was fascinated by his ability to paint the same objects while making each painting its own.” This inspiration has informed a sensitive painterly approach later honed in studies at Griffith University QCA. “The idea behind my work is that it brings joy – a sense of calm or contentment in seeing life’s little things.”
Before pursuing painting full-time, the artist applied her eye for objects to a career in design. “Fashion, interiors and art go hand in hand,” she says. “Colour, form and texture are as important in still-life as in a crafted suit or curated living room.” Her aesthetic sensibility can be felt in the timeless style of her compositions – the way kitchen accoutrements and serveware with home-cooked morsels appear casually clustered or partially out of frame. It’s the painting equivalent of the sartorial sprezzatura – an effortless grace – what a designer might call wabi-sabi. Belying its technical finesse, her work has a looseness that matches her medium’s fluidity.
Home is Grace’s second solo exhibition with Michael Reid galleries & follows on from her sold out show Grace at our Northern Beaches gallery in February 2023.
“Home is an exploration of what’s embedded in the objects around us. It is a collection of scenes that evoke the meaningful memories tethered to our homes. These paintings are composed to be a suggestion of what surrounds. With attention to colour and tone I’ve hoped to reflect a small part of a big scene, without the bounds of the canvas. It’s an entire bowl when only the edge can be seen, it’s a whole table setting shown by a glimpse of tablecloth, it’s a beautiful home in a simple image.I’m hoping this series can remind us its memories held in these small and seemingly mundane objects that create Home.” ~ Grace Butterfield 2023