Sharon Butler

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Sharon Butler
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Born1959 (age 64–65)
New London, Connecticut
  • B.A. in Art History
  • B.F.A. in Painting
  • M.F.A. in Art
Alma mater
  • Tufts University
  • Massachusetts College of Art
  • University of Connecticut
Known forAbstract painting, Art blogging
Notable work
Two Coats of Paint
  • Postminimalism
  • Casualist
  • Creative Capital
  • Warhol Foundation
  • Pollock-Krasner Foundation
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CitizenshipUnited States of America
OrganizationTwo Coats of Paint

Sharon Butler (born 1959) is an American artist and arts writer, born in in New London, Connecticut and based in New York City. She is known for abstract paintings that reflect on the structures, objects, visions, and energies of everyday life, and is keenly interested in documenting what she calls "the daily."[1][2] Since 2016, her canvases have been based on small daily drawings that she made each day (2016-2020) in a phone app and posted on Instagram.[3][4] In a 2018 conversation about the process of making paintings from these diminutive digital images, she said that the sense of surface and touch are inherent to a painting must be invented in the digital space. The images are never what they seem, especially when viewed on the phone. "One thing I have learned is that expectations have little to do with reality".[5]


Butler has shown her work internationally at galleries in Baltimore, Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago, Miami, London, Los Angeles, Paris, New York, Seattle, and other cities. In 2014, she was the inaugural resident at Counterproof Press where she published a series of etchings that foreshadowed her interest in geometric drawing.[6] At Yaddo in 2015 she was selected the Patricia Highsmith-Plangman Resident.[7] Theodore:Art (Brooklyn, NY), Pocket Utopia (New York, NY), Lenore Gray (Providence, RI), and SEASON (Seattle, WA) are among the galleries with whom Butler has been affiliated.

Arts writing

Butler is an arts writer, and, in 2007, she founded Two Coats of Paint, which was among the first of the professional art blogs developed by artists. She felt strongly that access to blogging tools and online media enabled artists to take part in the conversation which had, up until that point, been exclusively the purview of the gatekeepers--the commercial galleries and mainstream art publications. Through her lectures and teaching, she has encouraged artists to contribute to the art community by organizing salons, residency programs, curating exhibitions, writing art criticism, and other activities that provide opportunities to other artists.[8] Two Coats was named one of the best art blogs in New York[9][10] and was awarded several grants, including the Creative Capital / Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant (2013) for art blogs.[11] The project has expanded to include a small press, curatorial projects, and an artists' residency program.[12] Her essays have been published in The Brooklyn Rail, Gulf Coast, Huffington Post, Hyperallergic, The American Prospect, and other publications.[11]


In 2011, in a essay called "Abstract Painting: The New Casualists", published in The Brooklyn Rail, Butler coined the term "casualism" for a new type of abstraction that featured a self-amused, anti-heroic style with an interest in off-kilter composition and impermanence. She felt that artists' interest in irresolution reflected wider insights about culture and society.[13] Many artists responded positively to the essay and embraced the notion of "Casualism," while others rejected the term as snide and pejorative.[14][15] It became clear in later interviews and art reviews of Butler's work that ideas for the article were rooted in her own painting practice and artist statement. The Casualist tendency continued to inform her work for many years, although she eventually returned to more traditional stretched-canvas formats.[16][17]


Butler has a B.A. in Art History from Tufts University (Medford, MA), a B.F.A. in Painting from Massachusetts College of Art (Boston, MA), and an M.F.A. in Art from the University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT).


After teaching for thirteen years at Eastern Connecticut State University, where she received early tenure and achieved the rank of full professor, Butler left full-time teaching to focus on painting and writing.[18] Since 2014, she has lectured in the art departments at Brown, Cornell, Parsons School of Design, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the University of Connecticut, and the New York Academy of Art. [19]

In the media



  1. Vermont Studio Center (May 1, 1999). "Visiting Artist Talk: Sharon Butler". You Tube. Retrieved May 10, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. Butler, Sharon (December 2019). "The Daily / Curator's Statement". Ely Center of Contemporary Art. Retrieved 2020-05-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. D'Agostino, Paul (2018-09-22). "Instagram Cats". Hyperallergic. Retrieved 2020-05-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. Butler, Sharon (2016–2020). "Good Morning Drawings on Instagram". Retrieved 2020-05-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: date format (link) CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. Wayne, Leslie (2018-10-01). "Light is Beauty: Sharon Butler talks art, life and blogging". Artcritical. Retrieved 2020-05-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. Jenne, Ginger (2017-10-24). "Sharon Butler Print Series at Counterproof Press". Retrieved 2020-05-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. "Yaddo Visual Artists". 2015. Retrieved 2020-05-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. TEDxOrlando (January 1, 2011). "TEDxOrlando: Sharon Butler". You Tube. Retrieved May 10, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. Halle, Howard (January 30, 2018). "The best art websites". Time Out New York. Retrieved 2020-05-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. Fenstermaker, Will (June 28, 2017). "Follow these 8 Artist-run Blogs to Keep up with Art Criticism Today". ArtSpace.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Sharon Butler - Grantees - Arts Writers Grant Program". Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Art Writers Program. 2013. Retrieved 2020-05-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. Gavriel, Kate (2018-04-17). "DUMBO Open Studios: Sharon Butler". DUMBO Open Studios. Retrieved 2020-05-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. Butler, Sharon L. (2011-06-03). "ABSTRACT PAINTING: The New Casualists". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 2020-05-09.
  14. Antonini, Marco (2014). Golden Age: Perspectives on Abstract Painting Today. Brooklyn NY: NURTUREart.
  15. Micchelli, Thomas (June 29, 2015). "The New Casualists Strike Again". Hyperallergic. Retrieved May 10, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. Johnson, Elizabeth (December 26, 2013). "Sharon Butler's New Casualist paintings at The Painting Center in New York". Philadelphia Artblog.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. Neal, Patrick (February 5, 2016). "Philosophical Paintings that Bare Their Process". Hyperallergic. Retrieved May 10, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. Louden, Sharon (2013). Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists. Intellect Books. pp. 195–200. ISBN 9781783200122.
  19. Art, New York Academy of. "Sharon Butler – New York Academy of Art". Retrieved 2020-05-09.

External links

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