Valérie Butters is an artist who burst upon the art scene in Montréal, Toronto, British Columbia and Ottawa. She is fascinated by the subconscious and influenced by surrealism and expressionism. She has studied under many prominent contemporary artists, such as Jennifer Hornyak, Marilyn Rubenstein, Seymour Segel, Shirley Kats, Philip Iverson, Sophie Jodoin, and Jacques Clement. She is also inspired by the revolutionary Canadian artist, Paul-Émile Borduas.
Borduas created a very different vision of life and art with his spontaneous expressions of emotions, feelings, and sensations. While his work was considered radical at the time, Butter’s work is seen as joyful explosions of colour and emotion. Her evolution and exuberant exploration of colour and composition make her still-lifes and landscapes flamboyant and exciting.
Valerie attended the Ottawa School of Art in 2001 and, in 2005, graduated from a three-year Comprehensive Arts Program at the Saidye Bronfman Centre where she received art scholarships in 2003 and in 2004. Her quick evolution and exploration of colour and compositions resides in her still-lifes and landscapes. Her large formats and flamboyant style have caught the eye of art critics such as Henry Lehmann of the Montréal Gazette (11 September 2004) who described her work as “...interestingly gaudy, exuberantly messy...”
“... Valerie's work is an expression of her constant quest for freedom of expression and the passion to let her subconscious take control ...” (Brett Anningson; Arabella Magazine, Spring 2015) Valérie now resides and paints in Pemberton, British Columbia with her husband and son.
I was born in Chicoutimi, Québec and have also lived in Montréal, North Bay, Ottawa, Winnipeg, numerous countries in Europe, and now reside in Pemberton, British Columbia.
I have been painting professionally for 15 years. Following one year at the Ottawa School of Art, I completed the three-year Comprehensive Arts Program at the Saidye Bronfman School of Fine Arts in Montréal. About two years ago, I reached a creative impasse with myself. This past year I have painted for myself, grooming my ideologies and exploring my strengths and pushing myself to the maximum that I possibly can. If there is a name I would like to give myself, my brand or hashtag would be “Nouveaux Automatist”. The Automatists rocked my world. They are the reason I moved to Montréal to go to art school. The idea that when a pen sits on paper, given enough time your arm will inevitably move on its own and make a mark. That is your mark. I was always told in school that I had a great mark, a fearless mark. I made this past year all about my mark as well as some conceptual ideas.
My journey into abstraction and gesture has me thinking of my muse like the stars in the sky. You can look at them (the stars) as if they are really close and really small, or imagine them far away in space but huge. I want my paint to offer that same confusion of perspective. I would like the viewer to, at times, have it figured out but as you continue the visual journey I offer on my canvas, the ideas of space, they contradict themselves. There is a tension between reality and imagination, a distortion of perspective that's relative to the viewer.
I am an aggressive painter; I paint with long brushes with bamboo taped to my brushes. I know how to paint. I know what a brush does, but when you extend your arm a few feet, you give up control over the process. However, I do believe that, in surrendering to the control, I have become a truth in my process. I have given my work an abstracted realism. I want to continue this journey.
I have just turned 40, and I have just discovered my truth. I hope you are as excited as I am about my journey this past 16 years and this year in particular, as I am unapologetically determined to pursue this truth.