Poor Souls marks his first New York exhibition since 1986, including new collage and painting that showcase a wide-range of intelligence and cunningly dark but empathic humor.
Painted with a breezy confidence that complicates their gravity, these canvases tackle weighty issues of history, philosophy, mythology, grief and mourning. This is to say that there is real empathy beneath the surface, and that the paintings are packed with humanity. With the courage and wherewithal to incorporate a diversity of subjects, from Winston Churchill to a bewigged dachshund, Büttner scrambles hierarchies provoking a pleasant disequilibrium. A moody palette dominates generally, and surprising bands of drizzled black or white pigment often disrupt the naturalistic depicted space with flung drips of gestural abstraction—telltale ejaculatory “signatures” to further destabilize the surface reading.