‘Project 4 Walls’ art exhibit inspired by local artist’s travel adventures

Ashley Butler’s works showing at Strauss Gallery in Hamilton.

A local artist’s travel to exotic places has inspired the latest exhibition at The Strauss Gallery in Hamilton.

There will be a “Main Event” party on Friday night for the opening of “Project 4 Walls: The Paintings of Ashley Butler.”

“This is a real celebration of the artist, their art, and community togetherness here in Hamilton,” said Jay Kidd, one of the managers of the gallery. “The thing that is always most exciting about these events is actually the artist themselves. They bring to the table their art and it’s been a little while since we’ve had something that was pure abstract.” Kidd said.

“Having these big, bright, beautiful colors and shapes on our walls is inspiring. It’s art that people can really look at, and use their imaginations on. It’s always great to see how people interact with abstracts,” he said.

With this, the imagination is the limit, he said, it’s almost like the observer is part of the creative process with whatever they bring to the table, looking at it.

Butler is an abstract artist who left corporate life to pursue oil painting and rock climbing. She graduated from Miami University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Her expertise includes creating large-scale oil, acrylic and mixed media paintings and creating custom commissioned pieces.

Butler was also a part of the recent “New Views” exhibition that was presented by the Women’s Art Club of Hamilton at The Strauss Gallery and Fitton Center.

“One of the cool things about Ashley is in addition to being artist, she works with an organization called Explorer Chick, which is an all-female adventure travel company. So, she teaches rock climbing, kayaking and rafting, and all of that. She actually showed me a video where she was leading a group of scuba divers to swim with whale sharks,” Kidd said.

She goes to several wild, exotic places and she sees the mountains and the sky, valleys and trees, and she takes reference photos, said Kidd. She brings those back and uses them as inspiration for creating her work.

At Explore Chick, Butler is an adventure guide and she’s a lifelong multisport athlete. She was also previously a cosmetologist for 13 years and has done sculpting and still life painting.

“She’s taking this lived and adventured experience that she has, working with Explorer Chick, and then bringing it back and deconstructing these shapes and colors into something original,” Kidd said.

Butler and her friend, Madison Deckert, will offer an art class at the gallery the next evening. The cost of the class is $20. No pre-registration is required.

How to go

What: “Project 4 Walls: The Paintings of Ashley Butler”

When: Main Event party, 6 to 9 p.m. Friday. Exhibit open through April 1.

Where: The Strauss Gallery, 220 High St., Hamilton.

Cost: Free

More online: artspace.org/hamilton

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