Maddy Buttling


Oil on Floorboard

30 cm x 18 cm 


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Made on an intimate scale, my paintings reflect the pathos in everyday life. I want to explore the life, and death, of animals as a crucial quality of the human experience. The absurdism in experiencing animal life, and inevitably death, becomes clear through capturing the daily rituals that people use to fill their lives. Animal death, as mediated through the human experience, is cinematic and broadly accessible, often used as a microcosm of ‘real’ human grief, leading us to thoughts of our own mortality. By weighing the humour of animal ownership against its more poignant moments, I aim to highlight how death can elevate the pet to the level of a deity.


My fascination in online communities leads to a play on the anonymity of celebrity, where ephemeral dog-idols are stalked from afar. The almost arbitrary framing is cinematic, a fast-paced glimpse into the other’s life, frozen for contemplation. Personal memories of pets are recorded too, deified through the extravagance of oil paint. Low level perspectives allow the viewer to join the subject by becoming-animal. The animal as an enduring symbol is burdened with accusations of intellectual flabbiness. Quietly camp, my practice toys with the idea of painting animals as a genuine act of devotion. - Maddy Buttling, 2020

Vote for  Maddy Buttling for the People's Choice Prize   here

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Maddy Buttling recently graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Arts. A newly emerging artist, Maddy's work centres around repetitive and ritualistic practice, reflecting the pathos in everyday life. Her work is sensitive, delicate, and small - the paintings don’t shout for attention, they quietly draw the eye in, waiting to be listened to.

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