20th september - 8th october 2017
daniel butterworth | when the black dog bites
Archibald finalist Daniel Butterworth's series of paintings 'When The Black Dog Bites' are on show in the Gallery from 20th September through till the 8th October. This reflective series of portraits is an experiment in ekphrasis, where Daniel has internalised the actual experiences, the words, and the emotions of those who struggle with the black dog of depression. Daniel called on the public to supply him with their personal interpretations of their depression after overhearing the words "I took my neck out of a noose today, mum". Rocked by the thought that some of us are halted by the depth of our emotional life, and drained to the point of exhaustion, he decided to enter into their world and paint what he saw.
Daniel was overwhelmed by the response. He was inundated with words from those who wanted to explain their depression, and they were as simple as a single word, such as "winter", right through to complex poems. Daniel has treated his self-portraits for this series in his traditional painting manner, with loose gestural mark-making and the dribble of house paint. But there is something darker in this series, something bleak and foreboding in the trickle of paint down cheek and eye, and over the edge of the frame. The full face within the frame means the viewer cannot avoid the darkness and the all-consuming nature of the emotional life Daniel seeks to represent. He is reaching out of the frame both in composition and technique - reaching out to the very person who offered their innermost frailties while also reaching out to everyone else who is watching on.
The opening of Daniel Butterworth's show is a fundraiser for both Daniel's ongoing work and the work of the Ballarat Arts Foundation. As part of our examination of the self-portrait, Daniel will create a portrait of one lucky patron during the opening event on the 22nd September.
Bidding for a portrait
During Daniel Butterworth's opening event, we provided the opportunity for one patron to have their portrait painted. This live painting experience was an honour to watch. All proceeds raised go towards the artist and the Ballarat Arts Foundation.