Father and son launch first art show in Norwich
- Credit: Ivor Butcher
Father and son artists Ivor and Oscar Butcher are holding their first joint art exhibition, Oscar & Ivor – Ouch!, which is on now at the Anteros gallery in Norwich.
Ivor has been on the periphery of the art world for some 40 years, but during lockdown immersed himself in creative pursuits.
And Oscar is studying at Goldsmiths in London, which specialises in the arts.
When he worked in film finance, Ivor became interested in animation and one of his creative projects involved designing prototype zoetropes, precursors of modern cinema. When and he and his wife, Ciara, started a family, he channelled his creativity into making things with wood.
“I would make anything from play blocks to wooden boats, a special table for a Brio railway set, etc. That began a fascination with wood as a material that has since seen me build a treehouse, start a picture framing business and create art out of wood,” he says.
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When the first lockdown began, in March 2020, the school where Ivor was teaching maths part-time closed and he found himself spending all his time at home, immersing himself in creative projects.
“Through my picture framing business I had access to lots of equipment and materials and I would spend house in my workshop playing around with offcuts of MDF, initially fascinated by regular geometric designs," he says.
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"Then I started to look at lots of online artists, and inspired by two or three in particular, think about how I could achieve an equivalent aesthetic without plagiarising.
"My first attempts were unrefined – I have no art training, so I had to learn how to handle materials through my mistakes.”
At that time Oscar was on an art foundation course at City College Norwich and Ivor was buoyed by his input.
“His encouragement played a great part in inspiring me to persevere,” says Ivor.
“The last 17 months have been challenging for many people and I have been extremely fortunate to have had the support of friends and family in my artistic endeavours.
“Creating art, if that’s what it is, that involves so many manual processes feeds my soul. Being able to get lost in the creative process is a luxury, but one which should be available to everyone.”
Oscar has loved drawing since he was a child.
“I was always doodling some weird creature and giving it a suitably weird name,” he says. “In hindsight, the illustrations of Chris Riddell were a huge inspiration – they created a world of their own.”
After completing his art foundation course, Oscar won a place at Goldsmiths in London and while his first year was during the pandemic, he had studio access for most of that time.
“I met lots of amazing people through this,” says Oscar. “Despite being stuck indoors for a lot of the time, I still feel like I made the most of the time.
“At the moment I’ve been loving spray paint, and I’d like to get better at using it,” he continues. “A lot of my aesthetic inspiration comes from Instagram and my peers at uni. As for ideas, a lot of the work is focused around masculinity, morality and the body.”
And he’s enjoyed creating a joint exhibition with his dad.
“The works I’m showing are very varied,” says Oscar.
“I’m excited to see how people perceive them altogether. Despite being visually different, I hope that the pieces communicate a genuine love for drawing and painting, and hopefully provoke some thoughts.”
Explaining the name of the exhibition - Ouch - Ivor describes it as "a combination of the reactions that Oscar and I have encountered over the last 17 months."
“For Oscar, starting at art school in a lockdown was initially a painful experience - the works on display here illustrate the range of emotions faced.
“For me, Ouch is the feeling you get when you first expose your art to a critical gaze.”
Oscar & Ivor – Ouch! is at Anteros in Fye Bridge Street, Norwich until August 28.