Habitual un-truthfulness...

”If the calm means fog…welcome the gale”

- anonymous

My life’s work questioning the multiple meanings and veracity of photographic images has been ongoing and insatiable. The obsession originated in undergraduate school in the late sixties. I was enamored by the innumerable potential interpretations that transpired when societal images were juxtaposed with text and or other images. The aesthetic and psychological implications of the emotional and intellectual possibilities manifested unrealized connections that existed in my associative thought process. This epiphany gave rise to an intense interest in the manipulation of these societal images. I realized that these meanings would only be limited by my unique associative aesthetic ability. This line of inquiry was only heightened by my discovery of Historical and Contemporary Artists working in a related manner.

I have never subscribed to the notion that photographs were somehow unique, or only capable of producing a singular meaning. The countless images reproduced for a myriad of reasons in uncountable publications became my overwhelming area of interest for re-contextualization. Of particular interest were the mundane and ultimately unmemorable images that proliferate our visual environment, these became potential laden images to be used to create new interpretations and new associations, re-cycled, manipulated and altered into now memorable and unique personal experiences. This concept of uniqueness itself constitutes an area of exploration in my work, making photographic images, by hand most of my career, of subject matter that only I can reproduce, this contradicts the traditional notion of photographs being taken of things that exist for most or all to experience. Only I can manifest the associations that constitute the final product chosen to reproduce; it then becomes the subject matter of my work for others to experience, but it can only be experienced in the work.

Prior to the Digital Image Age the concept of ”Truth” was associated with photographs, for obvious reasons, but truth is illusive, if not non-existent, in an image. An image’s meaning is based on the viewers ”Truth,” and ability to associate the image with other memories or images. This meaning is transitory in nature and can deviate from simply a reproduction of reality, to the representational object of a totally ethereal concept.

My work is based in this transitory arena, I re-assign meaning to images from disparate sources to be re-assembled into a totally unique construct that has no direct connection to the originals use or source. For me it’s akin to music, it transcends a singular interpretation as it activates various points of reference in the viewer (listener). Just as one may identify a song, by only a few notes, the visual clues of an image being photographic, or media- based in origin, can be ascertained in the most minimal and insignificant bits of visual information.

This visual construct of de-construction has been what has motivated my work for my entire artistic career.

All new images are digitized from original hand made maquette’s and can be reproduced in variable sizes and on various materials. Previous works are limited in number and availability.

Jack Butler