Jack Butler


Jack Butler’s hybrid practice uses the means and methods of visual art to produce research in two domains – medical science (embryogenesis primary research and

the current project “Occam’s Hand”, at the intersection of art and medicine) and collaborations with Inuit artists (Art & Cold Cash). With degrees in visual art and

philosophy, Butler exhibits internationally with work in public and private collections including the National Gallery of Canada. Butler has taught at Carnegie Mellon

University, Banff centre for the Arts, The Department of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario, and most recently as adjunct faculty in the Healthcare

Technology and Place (HCTP) programme at the University of Toronto.

Artist’s Statement

I draw. Drawing-as-process has taken me into diverse media for the realization of my ideas – extended into sculptural modeling, computer animation, video

installation and performances. I produce hybrid research in two domains – medical science (primary research in human embryogenesis) and collaborations with

Inuit artists (the current project, “Art & Cold Cash”). These two life practices, dominating my exhibition history and my public presence, have been progressively

generating a third in-between ‘space’: internal dialogue – intimate, body-centered, hesitant, sexual.

One strong cultural and professional context for my research and production is my collaborations, since 1969, with Inuit artists in Nunavut. Currently this

collaboration takes the form of art-based research in Baker Lake (Qamanituaq) and exhibitions as a member of the  ve-person collective Art & Cold Cash. A print

record of these researches and exhibitions, the book Art and Cold Cash, was published by YYZ Books in January 2010.

I have since 1976 participated as a visual artist in medical research projects focusing on human embryological development; work published in scienti c contexts.

Parallel with these projects, I produce studio based installations that deconstruct my scienti cally focused research. The video projection installations, Genesis of

Breath, and Fatemap: Would you like to know what will happen? are current examples.

And the third in-between space is motivating Dark Body, a small, highly focused exhibition drawn from  ve projects at the intersection of art and medical research.

Dark Body culminates in the interactive touch sensitive audio drawing titled Occam’s Hand, which tracks my personal recovery from cervical spine surgery through

drawing and songs created from sounds recorded in the MRI together with my voice. The  ve interactive songs that play in response to the instruction – “Caress the

drawing  rmly”, were composed and recorded by sound artist Chandra Bulucon.


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