Maddy Buttling

Maddy ButtlingMaddy Buttling

BA Fine Art - Chelsea College Of Arts, 2020

On an intimate scale, my paintings reflect the pathos in everyday life. Exposed, quiet worlds are peered upon through widescreen panels. Recording the spaces within spaces, flat planes of white wall reveal open windows, light streams through, reflecting off mirrors, repeating back open doors, receding hallways. The creatures applied to each image are painted to obsessive detail, whiskers put on with a single brush hair. The almost arbitrary framing is cinematic, a fast-paced glimpse into the other’s life, frozen for contemplation. Low level perspectives allow the viewer to join the subject by becoming-animal.

My fascination in online communities leads to a play on the anonymity of celebrity, where ephemeral dog-idols are stalked from afar. Personal memories of pets are recorded too, deified through the extravagance of oil paint. The animal as an enduring symbol is burdened with accusations of intellectual flabbiness. While my subjects naturally reference the kitsch, I camply toy with the idea of painting animals as a genuine act of devotion.

I want to explore the life, and death, of animals as a crucial quality of the human experience. Through capturing the daily rituals that people use to fill their lives, the absurdism of experiencing animal life, and inevitably death, becomes clear. Animal death, as mediated through the human experience, is cinematic and broadly accessible, often used as a microcosm of ‘real’ human grief, leading us to thoughts of our own mortality. By weighing the humour of animal ownership against its more poignant moments, I aim to highlight how death can elevate the pet to the level of a deity.

Awards and residencies:

Nominated for Painters’ Company Scholarship, 2018; residency with art restorer Fabio Mazzocchini, 2018; Nominated for Painters’ Company Scholarship, 2018; shortlisted for Pocket Living’s Bollo Lane commission, 2019; Awarded Jackson’s Painting Prize, Animal Category, 2020.






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