T h e M e d i c i n e F a c t o r y | 8 5 V i r g i n i a A v e W e s t | M e m p h i s , T e n n e s s e e
o p e n b y a p p o i n t m e n t 2 2 S e p t e m b e r - 3 N o v e m b e r
P a r t s t o t h e W h o l e
In Parts to the Whole Butler and Sweibel present sculpture and drawings referencing ideas of gathering, systems, materiality and form. Sweibel and Butler both create their work through an accumulation of parts. However, the methods and sensibilities with which they approach the material yield very different work.
Ben Butler, Untitled
Butler’s sculpture and drawing are created through a rule-driven, systematic strategy. Though the methods he applies to each work are highly mathematical, the end form is surprisingly varied and organic. To describe this process, Butler says, “One metaphor I use is that I am designing DNA and growing a specimen under slightly different conditions each time. So the cluster [finished work] can be thought of as several specimens of the same species, effected by natural elements, etc.” The resulting work is astonishingly poetic and organic, the sum of parts converging to create a whole that is singular and alive in its beauty.
Sweibel, like Butler, also arrives at a formal conclusion through the act and labor of making. While Butler’s work references order, classification and systems, Sweibel works from a more visceral - yet still formal - place, referencing more poetic ideas of absence, longing, and relationship. Sweibel writes, “My pieces are intimate records of activity that draw attention to attention - given received, withdrawn, absent. The visual and visceral impact of each tiny point of contact, overlap or disconnect are what the work both reduces and expands to. It matches my experience of the world as the accumulation and juxtaposition of small decisions and acts that seem simple but aren’t.”