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Survivors at Sea by Michael A. Butler


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About the work

ON VIEW in “Coalescence” – “Being surrounded by water in its various forms, i.e. marshes, creeks, tidal pools, bays, ocean, etc. I find much to inspire me in my creative endeavors. As a food source, method of transportation and recreation the waters are both life-sustaining yet potentially dangerous. Multiple myths, legends and folklore have been born based upon humanity’s relationship with the sea.  “Calming an Angry Sea” depicts the old sailors’ legend that a woman’s bare breasts would calm turbulent waters.  Odd considering that it was also often believed bad luck to have women on board a sailing vessel. “Survivors at Sea” and “Professor James Van Houten Battles a Sea Monster” portray the potential dangers of seafaring.  The latter painting is based upon an actual published account in the Sag Harbor Corrector of 1904. It should be noted that the Van Houtens intermarried with the family of Chief Wyandanch Pharaoh of the Montaukett nation.  Van Houten himself was a noted musician and composer. His account of being attacked by an octopus was widely believed to be true due to his respected position in the community.

Currently on view at Ma’s House as part of Coalescence, a solo exhibition of paintings by Michael A. Butler, May 5th – June 27th, 2024

Artwork: Survivors at Sea, 2007 by Michael A. Butler
14 x 11 inches Acrylic on Canvas

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