Butterworth’s paintings are process driven; he develops images through the process of making the painting. Instinct, knowledge and collective memories drive his painting practice. There may be a narrative starting point for the work such as an image from a personal memory or experience, but equally it may arise solely from an instinct to paint.
A painting often starts simply with sensations from which he decides colours and gestures. The mechanics of the painting process then takes over; creating an intensity and a sense of being present in the process. Butterworth admits that, although this can feel like disorder, starting a new painting is also an exhilarating experience where both a sense of vulnerability and uncertainty prevail. However the process often leads to a unified surface and a simplified and structured image, a wish for order, perhaps.
Butterworth’s paintings are about discovering something new, either about painting itself or more broadly about ideas, feelings and external experiences. They reflect a desire to create harmony and unity.