Jack Butler's exhibition

Black and gold graphic bar
  February 17, 2004

Margie Yu
Public Affairs Specialist 
(323) 343-3047



Cal State L.A. 
Office of Public Affairs 
(323) 343-3050 
Fax: (323) 343-6405

For immediate release:
Cal State L.A. Professor's Art Work to
be Displayed at the USC Fisher Gallery

Los Angeles, CA -- Works by Cal State L.A. art professor Jack Butler will be featured in the Transfictions exhibition, opening February 18 through April 17, at the USC Fisher Gallery. The show juxtaposes the early and recent work of three Los Angeles-based photographers, Jack Butler, Eileen Cowin and Grant Mudford, featuring a number of new pieces that have never been publicly displayed.

Making Los Angeles their base of operations, the three artists set out to question, transform, and push the boundaries of the photographic medium. Transfixed by a key photographic element—image, narrative or space—Butler, Cowin and Mudford began to confront the fiction that the photograph functions as an impartial document.

By bringing together these three artists, Transfictions illustrates the aesthetic strength that arises when a single conceptual interest is coupled with an ongoing openness to innovation. The exhibition places early work produced by Butler, Cowin and Mudford next to their more recent output. This juxtaposition highlights the diversity and range of their experimental methods while addressing the cultural and technological changes that have inflected their approaches over time.

Transfictions also highlights the freshness of these artists’ engagement in the longstanding debate about the nature of the photographic image. The show thus presents their work as “transfictions,” images that emphasize the fictional qualities of the photograph while acknowledging—and even embracing—its physical basis. Seen together, the work of Butler, Cowin, and Mudford illustrates the key role these Los Angeles artists have played in changing photographic practice over the last 30 years.

Born in New York, Jack Butler began his artistic career when he moved to Los Angeles more than 30 years ago. Since receiving his MFA at UCLA in 1979, he has shown his conceptually driven and visually challenging work in more than 90 exhibitions internationally, including 16 solo exhibitions, and he has been published in several books and catalogs. In addition to producing award-winning and widely-collected works, Butler has taught art at the college level since 1971, and has curated numerous exhibitions. In 2003, he was the recipient of the City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowship Award. He is currently a professor of art at Cal State L.A. Through his complex manipulations of found images, Butler continues to create works that question our assumptions about the inherent meaning of the photographic image.

Gallery hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 12 noon-5 p.m. Admission is free. Call (213) 740-4561. The USC Fisher Gallery is located in Harris Hall, 823 Exposition Boulevard, on USC’s University Park campus. For campus map and driving directions, go to: www.usc.edu/org/fishergallery/galleryinfo_directions.shtml.

WORKING FOR CALIFORNIA – California State University, Los Angeles: A comprehensive university at the heart of a major metropolitan city. The 175-acre hilltop campus is located five miles east of Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. Since 1947, Cal State L.A. has been a leader in providing quality higher education. Today, the campus comprises a faculty of internationally recognized scholars and artists, and more than 21,000 students with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds that reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Cal State L.A. is one of 23 campuses in the CSU system.

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