Exploring our world in paintings and verse
© Heather Killen
Granville Ferry artist Geoff Butler has published his fourth book of art and words that looks at our lives from various perspectives.
By Heather Killen
Artist Geoff Butler of Granville Ferry has published his fourth book, “Our Own Little World: in paintings and verse.”
Similar to his previous books, “The Look of Angels: Angels in Art” and “The Art of War: Painting it out of the Picture,” Butler uses a combination of visual and language arts to explore his theme from different angles, offering up social commentary on the human condition.
This latest book is based on two collections of paintings that he says he began working on about eight years ago. He chose 150 paintings from his “Global Village” and “Canauckina” collections, pairing the illustrations with his poems and songs in the 176-page book.
Butler says whenever he paints, he often intends to explore the theme further through his writing and commentary. In the “Art of War” he tried to use humour as a safe way to offer commentary about war.
From there, he said he needed to find something more hopeful and began exploring the themes of angels, from both the spiritual and earthly perspectives.
Whether it’s heaven and earth, war and peace, good and evil Butler say he tries to see his subjects from different perspectives.
This latest book explores not just the different worlds we live in, but how we are living in them. Butler begins by exploring the “Global Village,” our earth and its place in space and shifting his attention to consider our planet as a community, and humanity as a family.
The cover illustration echoes the images sent earlier this year from the Voyager spacecraft as it orbited around the earth.
“We are a speck in space,’ he said. “But we are all concerned with our place in the cosmos.”
This collection of paintings and poems examine our how tribal instincts and warring attitudes can divide us from each other, and create a combative relationship with the environment.
“The days of sale” compares the economic drivers from the past’s golden age of sailing to the modern version of marked-down commercialism. “Haute couture” contrasts the gaunt and glamourous runway models, with the poorest of the poor.
While he’s often critical, he’s also optimistic and seeing plenty of opportunity for unity as, ‘All our little worlds are connected through the heart.”
From there Butler explores how the way we live in our own little worlds can affect the world around us. The second section features “Canuckiana” a series of paintings looking at Canada, but exploring issue that face everyone -- like human rights, nationalism, and the environment.
He questions how well our politics express our values with paintings “Two soltitudes,” inspired by Hugh MacLellan’s book, and plays on our nation’s favorite winter sport with “Hockey Fight in Canada.”
The third section, “My inner world” takes a more personal and philosophical look at the world around. “Shadow boxer” likens Sun Tzu’s famous “Art of War” with the comic Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Overall Butler says that from his little place in the world, he sees mutual cooperation as the win-win for all of us. More than one painting depicts us all in the same boat, sometimes called Hope.
“There are ways we can all get along,” he said. “It’s like rice paddy fields, the same river that waters one farmer’s rice paddy can supply water to all of them.”
“Our Own Little World: in paintings and verse” is available at Blue Griffin Books in Middleton and The Mad Hatter in Annapolis Royal.