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BRENDAN S T U A R T B U R N S


BRENDAN Flow & Pulse:

S T U A R T Paintings, Drawings, & Ceramics

B U R N S A PRI L 7 – J U NE 4, 2016

19 E AS T 66 TH S TRE E T

N E W Y O RK , NY 10065

212.202.3270

WW W. R O SE N BE R G C O . CO M


BRENDAN Flow & Pulse:

S T U A R T Paintings, Drawings, & Ceramics

B U R N S A PRI L 7 – J U NE 4, 2016

19 E AS T 66 TH S TRE E T

N E W Y O RK , NY 10065

212.202.3270

WW W. R O SE N BE R G C O . CO M


I NT R ODUCTIO N

R

OSENBERG & CO. is honored to present the first New York solo exhibition of

Brendan Burns. The gallery now shines with the presence of something pure

and exceptional.

The source of Burns’s luminous expression is nature in its raw state and its

infinite variations of textures, forms, and colors. The lines between reality and abstraction are blurred. We are transported on waves of harmonious colors and balanced dynamic composition. Stones of subtle hues, cascading leaves of paint. It is sheer beauty. Showing the work of Brendan Burns is a continuation of the Rosenberg tradition of exhibiting remarkable British artists, such as Kenneth Armitage, Donald Hamilton Fraser, Peter Kinley, Bernard Meadows, and Graham Sutherland. Showcasing paintings, drawings, and ceramics by Burns is a perfect extension of that legacy. The privilege of exhibiting Burns’s work is only increased by the great pleasure of working with our friends at Osborne Samuel, whose support and contribution in the preparation of this exceptional event were invaluable.

M A R IANN E R OS EN B ER G


I NT R ODUCTIO N

R

OSENBERG & CO. is honored to present the first New York solo exhibition of

Brendan Burns. The gallery now shines with the presence of something pure

and exceptional.

The source of Burns’s luminous expression is nature in its raw state and its

infinite variations of textures, forms, and colors. The lines between reality and abstraction are blurred. We are transported on waves of harmonious colors and balanced dynamic composition. Stones of subtle hues, cascading leaves of paint. It is sheer beauty. Showing the work of Brendan Burns is a continuation of the Rosenberg tradition of exhibiting remarkable British artists, such as Kenneth Armitage, Donald Hamilton Fraser, Peter Kinley, Bernard Meadows, and Graham Sutherland. Showcasing paintings, drawings, and ceramics by Burns is a perfect extension of that legacy. The privilege of exhibiting Burns’s work is only increased by the great pleasure of working with our friends at Osborne Samuel, whose support and contribution in the preparation of this exceptional event were invaluable.

M A R IANN E R OS EN B ER G


B R E NDA N B URN S

I

do not recall ever having responded so positively to the work of an artist who had

Brendan Burns’s paintings reflect his intimate study of the rock and mud-pools, the

approached me for representation; galleries are inundated constantly with such requests.

lichen, the sand and pebbles, the powerful feel of the inflow and outflow of coastal tides

In January 2008 we hosted a non-profit exhibition of selected works from the collection

sea and the vegetation on the coastal edge of the peninsula around the small Welsh city

of The Derek Williams Trust and the National Museum Wales. The collection also

of St Davids. All are thoughtfully observed, drawn and photographed and sometimes,

and winds and the erosion caused, the shimmering light on the spindrift bubbles of the

included a work by Brendan Burns; it consisted of 12 painted panels, each specfically

pressed onto the landscape or rock crevices, are prepared sheets of porcelain that are

related to the 12 Debussy’s Preludes, equally inspired by Ceri Richard’s sketchbooks and

later painted and fired and become rectangles or ribbons of delicate ceramic shapes.

through these, to La Cathédrale Engloutie (The Sunken Cathedral), the tenth of

All these constitute Burns’s subject, the ecology of the Pembrokeshire coast that also

Debussy’s Preludes for solo piano. The 12 works hung opposite my desk in the gallery

fascinated his esteemed predecessors Graham Sutherland and John Craxton.

for three weeks of the exhibition, thus I became very familiar with them; there was a quiet, contemplative mood about them. They went back to Cardiff and so too did

These works have an understated power and energy; they emphasise a Zen-like

Brendan Burns, not to be heard from for about five years!

quietude, coupled with an intense discipline that results in total spontaneity that lifts the viewer. They appear as totally abstract works but their form and colours are derived from

In early 2013 I got an email from Brendan, reminding me who he was and that he’d like

nature and maybe that is why one instantly feels a sense of calmness and serenity when

to show me his new book Glimpse. A month later he visited the gallery with the book. I

viewing them, like that sharp intake of breath when experiencing a stunning landscape.

was hugely impressed by what he’d been doing in the intervening years, all beautifully

They are exquisitely painted in oil, with a small percentage of wax, meticulously applied

illustrated and, even these flat pages exhibited a resonance of touch, colour and texture

to prepared linen canvas with a variety of tools; some have a silvery spray applied,

that captured my interest immediately, so much so that soon after I drove the 160 miles

evocative of the light off the sea and rocks.

from London to Cardiff, Wales to see his work. Burns’s work is in the collection of the National Museum Wales and in a number of His studio was above a pensioners day centre in a converted church. It was neat and

private collections in London, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Kuwait and the USA.

tidy and filled with paintings, drawings and ceramics. I selected a group of works for the 2014 London Art Fair, where we sold a number of Burns’s paintings. In 2015 we gave him a solo exhibition and included his work in all the UK and international fairs in which we participated in New York and Miami – responses were always positive, followed by sales to new collectors. Last November in New York I showed Marianne Rosenberg a short video on our website we’d produced to accompany his exhibition – she had the same response to the work as I did!

G O RDON S AMU E L OSBORNE SAMUEL GALLERY JANUARY 2016


B R E NDA N B URN S

I

do not recall ever having responded so positively to the work of an artist who had

Brendan Burns’s paintings reflect his intimate study of the rock and mud-pools, the

approached me for representation; galleries are inundated constantly with such requests.

lichen, the sand and pebbles, the powerful feel of the inflow and outflow of coastal tides

In January 2008 we hosted a non-profit exhibition of selected works from the collection

sea and the vegetation on the coastal edge of the peninsula around the small Welsh city

of The Derek Williams Trust and the National Museum Wales. The collection also

of St Davids. All are thoughtfully observed, drawn and photographed and sometimes,

and winds and the erosion caused, the shimmering light on the spindrift bubbles of the

included a work by Brendan Burns; it consisted of 12 painted panels, each specfically

pressed onto the landscape or rock crevices, are prepared sheets of porcelain that are

related to the 12 Debussy’s Preludes, equally inspired by Ceri Richard’s sketchbooks and

later painted and fired and become rectangles or ribbons of delicate ceramic shapes.

through these, to La Cathédrale Engloutie (The Sunken Cathedral), the tenth of

All these constitute Burns’s subject, the ecology of the Pembrokeshire coast that also

Debussy’s Preludes for solo piano. The 12 works hung opposite my desk in the gallery

fascinated his esteemed predecessors Graham Sutherland and John Craxton.

for three weeks of the exhibition, thus I became very familiar with them; there was a quiet, contemplative mood about them. They went back to Cardiff and so too did

These works have an understated power and energy; they emphasise a Zen-like

Brendan Burns, not to be heard from for about five years!

quietude, coupled with an intense discipline that results in total spontaneity that lifts the viewer. They appear as totally abstract works but their form and colours are derived from

In early 2013 I got an email from Brendan, reminding me who he was and that he’d like

nature and maybe that is why one instantly feels a sense of calmness and serenity when

to show me his new book Glimpse. A month later he visited the gallery with the book. I

viewing them, like that sharp intake of breath when experiencing a stunning landscape.

was hugely impressed by what he’d been doing in the intervening years, all beautifully

They are exquisitely painted in oil, with a small percentage of wax, meticulously applied

illustrated and, even these flat pages exhibited a resonance of touch, colour and texture

to prepared linen canvas with a variety of tools; some have a silvery spray applied,

that captured my interest immediately, so much so that soon after I drove the 160 miles

evocative of the light off the sea and rocks.

from London to Cardiff, Wales to see his work. Burns’s work is in the collection of the National Museum Wales and in a number of His studio was above a pensioners day centre in a converted church. It was neat and

private collections in London, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Kuwait and the USA.

tidy and filled with paintings, drawings and ceramics. I selected a group of works for the 2014 London Art Fair, where we sold a number of Burns’s paintings. In 2015 we gave him a solo exhibition and included his work in all the UK and international fairs in which we participated in New York and Miami – responses were always positive, followed by sales to new collectors. Last November in New York I showed Marianne Rosenberg a short video on our website we’d produced to accompany his exhibition – she had the same response to the work as I did!

G O RDON S AMU E L OSBORNE SAMUEL GALLERY JANUARY 2016


W

A B ST R AC T IO N | C RE AT IO N

riting about an artist’s work is an artifice, as artificial as the act of painting itself. Burns

strong personalities of the wartime refugees Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, the

well remembers Barnett Newman’s lapidary “One cannot really say it – one can only paint

artists’ colony at St Ives brought its abstracting sensibilities to the depiction of the coastal

it.” Attempting to describe accurately and convincingly the surface appearance and the

landscapes, rocks and sea of the similarly wind-exposed wildnesses of Cornwall.

materials employed in a painting, the writer can only offer a subjective response to a purely

visual experience. In prose or, in the case of some writers more gifted than I, in poetry, the

writer tries to impart a way to grasp and internalise an impression of the whole. In

conversation with the Welsh poet, Professor Tony Curtis, Burns once explained his intention that, ”[My paintings] have to work as paintings in their own right first, then split seconds behind that, the source of imagery may kick in. They’re about being human, and the act of creativity. They have to be sensed as well as experienced, they’re physical paintings,

they embody human presence. The ‘spiritual’ response and purpose is central.” It is puzzling that in earlier centuries so little was painted of a country of such outstanding and varied natural beauty as Wales. Before the end of the 18th century, painting in England had relied on a Dutch sensibility to portray the beauty of rolling and often human-ordered landscapes. The development of the Grand Tour through Europe to Italy, an acquaintance with the informality of the classical Italian landscape and, by contrast, also with the terribilità of Salvator Rosa’s melodramatic stormy scenes, awoke British artists – including the Welsh artist Richard Wilson and his unusually gifted compatriot Thomas Jones – to the wonders of wilder, even sublime nature. In Italy, however, with his extraordinarily ‘modern’ sensibility, Jones would also choose to focus in with remarkably close and intense observation on the very crevices and textures of a Neapolitan wall or roof seen from his balcony.

However, among the post-war generation of artists in Wales, outstanding figures such as Kyffin Williams, Terry Setch and Peter Prendergast have remained wedded to a mainly figurative approach to the country’s dramatic landscapes and coastlines, to the matière of paint, but often with an expressionist intensity of application – not without its parallels to influential post-war European artists such as Nicolas de Staël and Jean Dubuffet. Burns would explain to Curtis: “One of the main factors that has driven me is my love of paint, the material itself…the paint finds the landscape, and paint enables me to find images and find spaces and find textures, surfaces and colours, that perhaps I hadn’t realised before in the landscape.” A year’s residency on the Pembrokeshire coast based at Oriel y Parc in St David’s provided the opportunity, unhurried, to work and think, to explore and record a stretch of coastline at that extremity of west Wales where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. It gave Burns pause to acknowledge his infinitesimality against the expanses of sea and sky, to wonder at the complexity but brevity of human life when bearing down on the millennial existence of a simple grain of sand or a single fissure in a rock. The experience was invigorating, and bringing together the infinitesimal and the infinite has been a key to his recent work. The spark of refracted light in a grain of sand, the knife edges and shaded recesses of a fissure in rock are often reflected in the sharp lines and dark fields of his drawings, and magnified into forms that mirror the accidents of the seashore and the landscape he explored. He

The search for the picturesque and the sublime in nature would, ironically, find its rebirth

noted, “I think I’m drawn to the small, for some reason…I’m interested in what’s

in Britain in the troubled decade of the 20th century with the threatening political dramas

happening around my feet...all that texture, all that colour, it avoids the picture – should I

of the 1930’s. Some young artists chose to turn away from international avant-garde

say picturesque.”

styles to re-explore the indigenous landscape, while still retaining an awareness of contemporary modes of abstraction and surrealism. In this spirit, Graham Sutherland chose to portray the remotest lanes and coastline of Pembrokeshire, and John Piper the fastnesses of the Welsh hills, in saturated lyrical and sometimes intensely sombre colours. At Pembrokeshire’s geographical counterpart in England, through the influence of the

Photography has become an indispensable stimulus to his imagination, whether focussing on the slowest growing of all plant life, the lichen, capturing with shallow focus its clear curling edges and leaving its spreading fields in mists of melting colour, or coursing underwater, beneath the foam of waves or bubbles of pools, to suggest the water’s everchanging geometry of attraction and dissolution. In his diary Burns asked himself: “Is the


W

A B ST R AC T IO N | C RE AT IO N

riting about an artist’s work is an artifice, as artificial as the act of painting itself. Burns

strong personalities of the wartime refugees Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, the

well remembers Barnett Newman’s lapidary “One cannot really say it – one can only paint

artists’ colony at St Ives brought its abstracting sensibilities to the depiction of the coastal

it.” Attempting to describe accurately and convincingly the surface appearance and the

landscapes, rocks and sea of the similarly wind-exposed wildnesses of Cornwall.

materials employed in a painting, the writer can only offer a subjective response to a purely

visual experience. In prose or, in the case of some writers more gifted than I, in poetry, the

writer tries to impart a way to grasp and internalise an impression of the whole. In

conversation with the Welsh poet, Professor Tony Curtis, Burns once explained his intention that, ”[My paintings] have to work as paintings in their own right first, then split seconds behind that, the source of imagery may kick in. They’re about being human, and the act of creativity. They have to be sensed as well as experienced, they’re physical paintings,

they embody human presence. The ‘spiritual’ response and purpose is central.” It is puzzling that in earlier centuries so little was painted of a country of such outstanding and varied natural beauty as Wales. Before the end of the 18th century, painting in England had relied on a Dutch sensibility to portray the beauty of rolling and often human-ordered landscapes. The development of the Grand Tour through Europe to Italy, an acquaintance with the informality of the classical Italian landscape and, by contrast, also with the terribilità of Salvator Rosa’s melodramatic stormy scenes, awoke British artists – including the Welsh artist Richard Wilson and his unusually gifted compatriot Thomas Jones – to the wonders of wilder, even sublime nature. In Italy, however, with his extraordinarily ‘modern’ sensibility, Jones would also choose to focus in with remarkably close and intense observation on the very crevices and textures of a Neapolitan wall or roof seen from his balcony.

However, among the post-war generation of artists in Wales, outstanding figures such as Kyffin Williams, Terry Setch and Peter Prendergast have remained wedded to a mainly figurative approach to the country’s dramatic landscapes and coastlines, to the matière of paint, but often with an expressionist intensity of application – not without its parallels to influential post-war European artists such as Nicolas de Staël and Jean Dubuffet. Burns would explain to Curtis: “One of the main factors that has driven me is my love of paint, the material itself…the paint finds the landscape, and paint enables me to find images and find spaces and find textures, surfaces and colours, that perhaps I hadn’t realised before in the landscape.” A year’s residency on the Pembrokeshire coast based at Oriel y Parc in St David’s provided the opportunity, unhurried, to work and think, to explore and record a stretch of coastline at that extremity of west Wales where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. It gave Burns pause to acknowledge his infinitesimality against the expanses of sea and sky, to wonder at the complexity but brevity of human life when bearing down on the millennial existence of a simple grain of sand or a single fissure in a rock. The experience was invigorating, and bringing together the infinitesimal and the infinite has been a key to his recent work. The spark of refracted light in a grain of sand, the knife edges and shaded recesses of a fissure in rock are often reflected in the sharp lines and dark fields of his drawings, and magnified into forms that mirror the accidents of the seashore and the landscape he explored. He

The search for the picturesque and the sublime in nature would, ironically, find its rebirth

noted, “I think I’m drawn to the small, for some reason…I’m interested in what’s

in Britain in the troubled decade of the 20th century with the threatening political dramas

happening around my feet...all that texture, all that colour, it avoids the picture – should I

of the 1930’s. Some young artists chose to turn away from international avant-garde

say picturesque.”

styles to re-explore the indigenous landscape, while still retaining an awareness of contemporary modes of abstraction and surrealism. In this spirit, Graham Sutherland chose to portray the remotest lanes and coastline of Pembrokeshire, and John Piper the fastnesses of the Welsh hills, in saturated lyrical and sometimes intensely sombre colours. At Pembrokeshire’s geographical counterpart in England, through the influence of the

Photography has become an indispensable stimulus to his imagination, whether focussing on the slowest growing of all plant life, the lichen, capturing with shallow focus its clear curling edges and leaving its spreading fields in mists of melting colour, or coursing underwater, beneath the foam of waves or bubbles of pools, to suggest the water’s everchanging geometry of attraction and dissolution. In his diary Burns asked himself: “Is the


experience of the beach/the photographic process that ultimately is the catalyst for

Making a mark, drawing a line, applying an area of colour constitute the material

imagery produced in the studio? OR, is the work and its vision allowing me to see the

elements, the scaffolding for, the suggestion of a thing seen or a mood sensed. The exact

affinity/composition within existing photographs. In other words, does the concept come

juxtaposition of these elements, joined or spaced out randomly or rhythmically, shape the

first, or the photograph? [the artist’s emphasis].” From the time of Burns’s residency, his

potential for suggesting to, or communicating with, the eye of the spectator. The artist’s

photographs do seem to suggest, or reflect, new combinations of colours, new textures of

hand is servant to the eye, translating the mind’s imagination into visual evidence. The

paint, new formal compositions on the canvas. And his close observation of the topography

marks feed back to the artist’s mind for fresh imagining, in a form of continuous loop,

of surfaces has inspired a fresh departure in his work. Soft sheets of porcelain have been

like the modulation of themes in the development section of a sonata or symphony. The

used to capture the corrugation of rocks which, with drawing or painting on their surfaces,

artist watches and experiments, thinks and intervenes, as his imagining becomes an

become invented landscapes in their own right.

image before his eyes. The idea and the realization become one.

Drawing begins in a void, but Burns is not afraid of the void. Empty spaces allow for thought

Further on, Burns explained to Curtis: “Landscape art is an appropriation of nature,

to wander, the eye to guide the hand to move freely, to sense rhythm, construct pattern,

therefore the painting will always be an abstraction…my work is not abstract in the formal

observe and play with the dynamics of movement. These unhurried recordings of moments

sense, but it has enjoyed the relationship with ambiguity, it is concerned with inner emotion

and events are translated onto canvas, not literally, but into the character of the paintings.

and the sensed experience of the viewer, it is about the contemplative and experience of

Burns wrote in his diary: “the most exciting aspect of painting is about losing that control.

self-reflection.” The visual impact of colour, pattern, rhythm and intensity, surface relief

It’s letting the reins out, allowing materials to find certain forms and particular surfaces,

and scale, offer a sensual pleasure, a shudder of recognition akin to the intangible,

but at the same time being able to pull the reins back when you find that form, to recognize

inexplicable response to a particular moment in music, where the spaces in between

it and to recognize the accident.” The greater physical scale, and the distance it compels

passages of paint are akin to the pause or silent passage in music that allows memories

for absorbing the whole, permit the artist’s forceful gesture of jabbing and smoothing, the

to be summoned up, ideas to be sorted, a new phrase of thought to begin.

physical relief of paint edges and shadows, and the tone and contrast of colours to create the mood and impact of the subject. Shimmering pools and swimming leaves seem to

It would be more accurate to characterize Burns’s art as commemorating rather than

morph at times into continents and oceans, and back again, as the eye surveys the

celebrating nature. He wishes to locate and draw our attention to certain aspects, to a

crescendo, diminuendo and silences of events on the canvas.

few of the innumerable facets of nature over which we trample in our dizzy helter-skelter

The seashore offers a most natural experience of that very synaesthesia for which Wassily

His painting also belongs to an age that rediscovers the romance and value of the ever-

Kandinsky strove. The inexhaustible changing moods of sea and sky, the intertwining

reborn miracles of nature and its wondrous forms. In the midst of a blizzard of scientific

melodies of wind, waves and seabirds, the modulation of colours from the waves’ white

and technological advances, temptations and diversions, we are distracted from

seeking evanescent pleasures, superficial quick-fixes and illusory satisfactions in our lives.

foam to the shore’s dark basaltic rocks, the reflections and scents of sea-sprayed stones

confronting the likelihood – possibly even the fact – that we are now so polluting and

and plants under sun and rain, the random accidents and brutal drama of eroding coastlines

disturbing the balance of nature that we may be condemning ourselves, and it, to

– all these impressions overpower the senses’ attempt to capture and describe at once.

destruction. His paintings can take us back to look again, to remember moments of

Burns has tried to establish different moods and sensations with contrasting colour palettes

surprise and awe at the visual experiences over which we have no control, but which simply

against a liquefied gold or silver-white ground, shading from white, grey, green to umber,

exist for our delight.

blue and black. The application of paint generates its own moods and contrasts, varying as it does from gentle dabs and circling movements to hefty strokes and violent smears.

PHILIP WRIGHT


experience of the beach/the photographic process that ultimately is the catalyst for

Making a mark, drawing a line, applying an area of colour constitute the material

imagery produced in the studio? OR, is the work and its vision allowing me to see the

elements, the scaffolding for, the suggestion of a thing seen or a mood sensed. The exact

affinity/composition within existing photographs. In other words, does the concept come

juxtaposition of these elements, joined or spaced out randomly or rhythmically, shape the

first, or the photograph? [the artist’s emphasis].” From the time of Burns’s residency, his

potential for suggesting to, or communicating with, the eye of the spectator. The artist’s

photographs do seem to suggest, or reflect, new combinations of colours, new textures of

hand is servant to the eye, translating the mind’s imagination into visual evidence. The

paint, new formal compositions on the canvas. And his close observation of the topography

marks feed back to the artist’s mind for fresh imagining, in a form of continuous loop,

of surfaces has inspired a fresh departure in his work. Soft sheets of porcelain have been

like the modulation of themes in the development section of a sonata or symphony. The

used to capture the corrugation of rocks which, with drawing or painting on their surfaces,

artist watches and experiments, thinks and intervenes, as his imagining becomes an

become invented landscapes in their own right.

image before his eyes. The idea and the realization become one.

Drawing begins in a void, but Burns is not afraid of the void. Empty spaces allow for thought

Further on, Burns explained to Curtis: “Landscape art is an appropriation of nature,

to wander, the eye to guide the hand to move freely, to sense rhythm, construct pattern,

therefore the painting will always be an abstraction…my work is not abstract in the formal

observe and play with the dynamics of movement. These unhurried recordings of moments

sense, but it has enjoyed the relationship with ambiguity, it is concerned with inner emotion

and events are translated onto canvas, not literally, but into the character of the paintings.

and the sensed experience of the viewer, it is about the contemplative and experience of

Burns wrote in his diary: “the most exciting aspect of painting is about losing that control.

self-reflection.” The visual impact of colour, pattern, rhythm and intensity, surface relief

It’s letting the reins out, allowing materials to find certain forms and particular surfaces,

and scale, offer a sensual pleasure, a shudder of recognition akin to the intangible,

but at the same time being able to pull the reins back when you find that form, to recognize

inexplicable response to a particular moment in music, where the spaces in between

it and to recognize the accident.” The greater physical scale, and the distance it compels

passages of paint are akin to the pause or silent passage in music that allows memories

for absorbing the whole, permit the artist’s forceful gesture of jabbing and smoothing, the

to be summoned up, ideas to be sorted, a new phrase of thought to begin.

physical relief of paint edges and shadows, and the tone and contrast of colours to create the mood and impact of the subject. Shimmering pools and swimming leaves seem to

It would be more accurate to characterize Burns’s art as commemorating rather than

morph at times into continents and oceans, and back again, as the eye surveys the

celebrating nature. He wishes to locate and draw our attention to certain aspects, to a

crescendo, diminuendo and silences of events on the canvas.

few of the innumerable facets of nature over which we trample in our dizzy helter-skelter

The seashore offers a most natural experience of that very synaesthesia for which Wassily

His painting also belongs to an age that rediscovers the romance and value of the ever-

Kandinsky strove. The inexhaustible changing moods of sea and sky, the intertwining

reborn miracles of nature and its wondrous forms. In the midst of a blizzard of scientific

melodies of wind, waves and seabirds, the modulation of colours from the waves’ white

and technological advances, temptations and diversions, we are distracted from

seeking evanescent pleasures, superficial quick-fixes and illusory satisfactions in our lives.

foam to the shore’s dark basaltic rocks, the reflections and scents of sea-sprayed stones

confronting the likelihood – possibly even the fact – that we are now so polluting and

and plants under sun and rain, the random accidents and brutal drama of eroding coastlines

disturbing the balance of nature that we may be condemning ourselves, and it, to

– all these impressions overpower the senses’ attempt to capture and describe at once.

destruction. His paintings can take us back to look again, to remember moments of

Burns has tried to establish different moods and sensations with contrasting colour palettes

surprise and awe at the visual experiences over which we have no control, but which simply

against a liquefied gold or silver-white ground, shading from white, grey, green to umber,

exist for our delight.

blue and black. The application of paint generates its own moods and contrasts, varying as it does from gentle dabs and circling movements to hefty strokes and violent smears.

PHILIP WRIGHT


Drizzle, 2014 Oil and wax on linen 63 x 781/2 in. (160 x 200 cm)

Ooze, 2015 Oil and wax on linen 351/4 x 431/4 in. (90 x 110 cm)


Drizzle, 2014 Oil and wax on linen 63 x 781/2 in. (160 x 200 cm)

Ooze, 2015 Oil and wax on linen 351/4 x 431/4 in. (90 x 110 cm)


Gasp, 2016 Oil and wax on linen 51 x 63 in. (130 x 160 cm)

Crave II, 2014 Oil and wax on linen 471/4 x 55 in. (120 x 140 cm)


Gasp, 2016 Oil and wax on linen 51 x 63 in. (130 x 160 cm)

Crave II, 2014 Oil and wax on linen 471/4 x 55 in. (120 x 140 cm)


Ooze, 2009 Oil and wax on board 113/4 x 141/4 in. (30 x 36 cm)

Guzzle, 2009 Oil and wax on board 113/4 x 141/4 in. (30 x 36 cm)


Ooze, 2009 Oil and wax on board 113/4 x 141/4 in. (30 x 36 cm)

Guzzle, 2009 Oil and wax on board 113/4 x 141/4 in. (30 x 36 cm)


Quiver, 2014 Oil and wax on linen 641/2 x 781/2 in. (164 x 200 cm)

Sizzle, 2015 Oil and wax on linen 351/4 x 431/4 in. (90 x 110 cm)


Quiver, 2014 Oil and wax on linen 641/2 x 781/2 in. (164 x 200 cm)

Sizzle, 2015 Oil and wax on linen 351/4 x 431/4 in. (90 x 110 cm)


Tickle, 2015 Oil and wax on linen 351/4 x 431/4 in. (90 x 110 cm)

Nestle, 2016 Oil and wax on linen 51 x 63 in. (130 x 160 cm) Â


Tickle, 2015 Oil and wax on linen 351/4 x 431/4 in. (90 x 110 cm)

Nestle, 2016 Oil and wax on linen 51 x 63 in. (130 x 160 cm) Â


Gasp, 2009 Oil and wax on board 113/4 x 141/4 in. (30 x 36 cm)

Spurt, 2014 Oil and wax on board 113/4 x 141/4 in. (30 x 36 cm)


Gasp, 2009 Oil and wax on board 113/4 x 141/4 in. (30 x 36 cm)

Spurt, 2014 Oil and wax on board 113/4 x 141/4 in. (30 x 36 cm)


Whimper, 2015 Oil and wax on linen 51 x 63 in. (130 x 160 cm)

Zest, 2014 Oil and wax on linen 471/4 x 55 in. (120 x 140 cm)


Whimper, 2015 Oil and wax on linen 51 x 63 in. (130 x 160 cm)

Zest, 2014 Oil and wax on linen 471/4 x 55 in. (120 x 140 cm)


Fizz, 2015 Oil and wax on linen 51 x 63 in. (130 x 160 cm)

Weep, 2015 Oil and wax on linen 63 x 781/2 in. (160 x 200 cm)


Fizz, 2015 Oil and wax on linen 51 x 63 in. (130 x 160 cm)

Weep, 2015 Oil and wax on linen 63 x 781/2 in. (160 x 200 cm)


Babble, 2014 Oil and wax on board 113/4 x 141/4 in. (30 x 36 cm)

Thrum, 2014 Oil and wax on board 113/4 x 141/4 in. (30 x 36 cm)


Babble, 2014 Oil and wax on board 113/4 x 141/4 in. (30 x 36 cm)

Thrum, 2014 Oil and wax on board 113/4 x 141/4 in. (30 x 36 cm)


Stone Poem series 0018, 2009 Mixed media on handmade Khadi paper 12 x 153/4 in. (30 x 40 cm)

Stone Poem series 0028, 2009 Mixed media on handmade Khadi paper 12 x 153/4 in. (30 x 40 cm)


Stone Poem series 0018, 2009 Mixed media on handmade Khadi paper 12 x 153/4 in. (30 x 40 cm)

Stone Poem series 0028, 2009 Mixed media on handmade Khadi paper 12 x 153/4 in. (30 x 40 cm)


Stone Poem series 0010, 2009 Mixed media on handmade Khadi paper 12 x 153/4 in. (30 x 40 cm)

Stone Poem series 0036, 2009 Mixed media on handmade Khadi paper 12 x 153/4 in. (30 x 40 cm)


Stone Poem series 0010, 2009 Mixed media on handmade Khadi paper 12 x 153/4 in. (30 x 40 cm)

Stone Poem series 0036, 2009 Mixed media on handmade Khadi paper 12 x 153/4 in. (30 x 40 cm)


Stone Poem series 0072, 2009 Mixed media on handmade Khadi paper 12 x 153/4 in. (30 x 40 cm)

Stone Poem series 0009, 2009 Mixed media on handmade Khadi paper 12 x 153/4 in. (30 x 40 cm)


Stone Poem series 0072, 2009 Mixed media on handmade Khadi paper 12 x 153/4 in. (30 x 40 cm)

Stone Poem series 0009, 2009 Mixed media on handmade Khadi paper 12 x 153/4 in. (30 x 40 cm)


Porcelain Stone Poem series: No 0037, 2013 Mixed media, graphite, and watercolor on porcelain 81/4 x 112/5 in. (21 x 29 cm)

Porcelain Stone Poem series: No 0034, 2013 Mixed media, graphite, and watercolor on porcelain 81/4 x 112/5 in. (21 x 29 cm)


Porcelain Stone Poem series: No 0037, 2013 Mixed media, graphite, and watercolor on porcelain 81/4 x 112/5 in. (21 x 29 cm)

Porcelain Stone Poem series: No 0034, 2013 Mixed media, graphite, and watercolor on porcelain 81/4 x 112/5 in. (21 x 29 cm)


Stone Poem Watercolor series 0545, 2009 Mixed media on handmade Khadi paper 11 x 15 in. (28 x 38 cm)

Stone Poem Watercolor series 0555, 2009 Mixed media on handmade Khadi paper 11 x 15 in. (28 x 38 cm)


Stone Poem Watercolor series 0545, 2009 Mixed media on handmade Khadi paper 11 x 15 in. (28 x 38 cm)

Stone Poem Watercolor series 0555, 2009 Mixed media on handmade Khadi paper 11 x 15 in. (28 x 38 cm)


M

A RT IST S TAT E MEN T

y work is not abstract in the formal sense, but it enjoys a relationship with ambiguity;

the literary, and conveniently making false connections in order to justify the creative

it is concerned with inner emotion and the sensed experience of the viewer; it is about

act. I want to encourage the viewer, and myself as maker, to go beyond the initial

the contemplative and the experience of self-reflection. All my work has endeavored to

aesthetic connection, to see and experience a more profound, complete, and human

present the clarity, yet simultaneous abstraction, of a ‘peripheral’ experience: the

encounter with my work.

afterimage burnt onto the retina, something which is both precise yet ambiguous,

fixed yet transitory, permanent yet ephemeral.

These works refract human presence; they make one aware of oneself, openly

This work allows for the materiality and physicality of the earth to take on a more

‘knowing’ is the ‘stone-ness of a stone,’ the ‘inscape’ as Gerard Manley Hopkins

significant role. The first response to these works is a physical one: paint and its

described it; or as Peter De Bolla said, ‘what it is like to be,’ or, perhaps more

revealing one’s own fragility of existence and sense of being human. For these works

application. This body of work allows for the personal, philosophical, and the emotive,

accurately, ‘helps me feel being.’ They are sensuous and seductive; they allow the

as well as a sense of journey and time.

eyes to experience the sense of touch, to even smell or taste colour.

Flow & Pulse celebrates a stone’s ability to seep absorbed light, almost as liquid

The works are simultaneously a microcosm and macrocosm, allowing the viewer to

colour when dusk sets. These works ‘re-present’ that connection with our natural

exchange their own scale; the distance between the viewer’s retina and picture plane

world, the simplest and most fundamental of human experiences: they give one time

oscillates from near to far. This whole experience enhances an important factor:

to breathe. A heightened awareness of mortality and a deep sense of loss have always

‘time.’ There is an extraordinary sense of quiet, calm and stillness. Time held in

been present. Death in one way or another has continually been a theme of my work,

suspension. I hope that all of my works allow the viewer to become highly conscious of

whether literally or symbolically, with both a physical and emotional distance

the activity of looking, and therefore to become aware of oneself, one’s own position in

experienced through absence.

time and place, to recognize almost outside of oneself one’s own presence.

Emotional memories from the past are precious, demanding, difficult, and inherently

To breathe in memory, thought, serenity, time, and contemplation. I ask myself once

embedded within my identity as an artist. The sense of distance, divide, separation,

again: What is the point of making? What does my work do? And I answer: The point

preoccupation, absence, and mortality has consistently been present throughout my

is quite simply to create a work that allows thought itself to breathe.

oeuvre, irrespective of theme or subject matter, or indeed medium. The sculptural encounter with painting engenders the consistent underlying melodic whisper of the

It is clear that I am grappling with the concepts of hæcceity, inscape, thing-ness,

spiritual that has developed in my work.

essence, and the ontological in the way I see a stone, rock-pool, or lichen growth. The

‘Place,’ Caerfai Bay on the Pembrokeshire Coast, has ceased to be just a landscape,

well as to incorporate my own refractions of self and identity, and my awareness of

and transcends itself as a location in which I am able to connect and contemplate the

mortality and the spiritual.

challenge is then to use paint or clay to communicate this experience to the viewer, as

refraction of self. It is often perilous writing critically about one’s own work, which essentially is of another language: the visual. There are dangers in over-romanticizing

BRENDAN STUART BURNS


M

A RT IST S TAT E MEN T

y work is not abstract in the formal sense, but it enjoys a relationship with ambiguity;

the literary, and conveniently making false connections in order to justify the creative

it is concerned with inner emotion and the sensed experience of the viewer; it is about

act. I want to encourage the viewer, and myself as maker, to go beyond the initial

the contemplative and the experience of self-reflection. All my work has endeavored to

aesthetic connection, to see and experience a more profound, complete, and human

present the clarity, yet simultaneous abstraction, of a ‘peripheral’ experience: the

encounter with my work.

afterimage burnt onto the retina, something which is both precise yet ambiguous,

fixed yet transitory, permanent yet ephemeral.

These works refract human presence; they make one aware of oneself, openly

This work allows for the materiality and physicality of the earth to take on a more

‘knowing’ is the ‘stone-ness of a stone,’ the ‘inscape’ as Gerard Manley Hopkins

significant role. The first response to these works is a physical one: paint and its

described it; or as Peter De Bolla said, ‘what it is like to be,’ or, perhaps more

revealing one’s own fragility of existence and sense of being human. For these works

application. This body of work allows for the personal, philosophical, and the emotive,

accurately, ‘helps me feel being.’ They are sensuous and seductive; they allow the

as well as a sense of journey and time.

eyes to experience the sense of touch, to even smell or taste colour.

Flow & Pulse celebrates a stone’s ability to seep absorbed light, almost as liquid

The works are simultaneously a microcosm and macrocosm, allowing the viewer to

colour when dusk sets. These works ‘re-present’ that connection with our natural

exchange their own scale; the distance between the viewer’s retina and picture plane

world, the simplest and most fundamental of human experiences: they give one time

oscillates from near to far. This whole experience enhances an important factor:

to breathe. A heightened awareness of mortality and a deep sense of loss have always

‘time.’ There is an extraordinary sense of quiet, calm and stillness. Time held in

been present. Death in one way or another has continually been a theme of my work,

suspension. I hope that all of my works allow the viewer to become highly conscious of

whether literally or symbolically, with both a physical and emotional distance

the activity of looking, and therefore to become aware of oneself, one’s own position in

experienced through absence.

time and place, to recognize almost outside of oneself one’s own presence.

Emotional memories from the past are precious, demanding, difficult, and inherently

To breathe in memory, thought, serenity, time, and contemplation. I ask myself once

embedded within my identity as an artist. The sense of distance, divide, separation,

again: What is the point of making? What does my work do? And I answer: The point

preoccupation, absence, and mortality has consistently been present throughout my

is quite simply to create a work that allows thought itself to breathe.

oeuvre, irrespective of theme or subject matter, or indeed medium. The sculptural encounter with painting engenders the consistent underlying melodic whisper of the

It is clear that I am grappling with the concepts of hæcceity, inscape, thing-ness,

spiritual that has developed in my work.

essence, and the ontological in the way I see a stone, rock-pool, or lichen growth. The

‘Place,’ Caerfai Bay on the Pembrokeshire Coast, has ceased to be just a landscape,

well as to incorporate my own refractions of self and identity, and my awareness of

and transcends itself as a location in which I am able to connect and contemplate the

mortality and the spiritual.

challenge is then to use paint or clay to communicate this experience to the viewer, as

refraction of self. It is often perilous writing critically about one’s own work, which essentially is of another language: the visual. There are dangers in over-romanticizing

BRENDAN STUART BURNS


B

B IOG R APH Y

rendan Stuart Burns was born in 1963 in Nakuru, Kenya. He studied fine art at Cardiff School of Art & Design (1981–1985), and undertook a graduate degree in painting at The Slade School of Art, University College London (1985–1987). In 2011, Burns completed his PhD in fine art at the University of Glamorgan, Wales: ‘Shadow into Parent Light: Beyond Pembrokeshire, beyond Landscape.’ Burns has exhibited both nationally throughout the United Kingdom and internationally, including in the United States, Australia, Belgium, France, Spain, and China. His recent solo exhibitions include Gesture | Glimpse | Memory, Osborne Samuel Gallery, London (2015); Glimpse, National Botanic Garden of Wales, Llanarthne and St. David's Hall, Cardiff, Wales (2012); and Influere, Oriel Y Parc – Landscape Gallery, St Davids, Wales (2009), where he exhibited works produced over the course of a year-long artist residency alongside selections from the National Museum Wales. Other solo shows include Tidal, Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Wales (2005); Not the Stillness..., National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, Oriel Clwyd, and Newport Museum & Art Gallery, Wales (2002); As well as Being..., National Museums & Galleries of Wales, Turner House Gallery, Cardiff (1999). He has shown widely in group exhibitions, including recently: Ooze: sculptural ceramics in porcelain, Craft in the Bay, Cardiff, Wales (2016); The Armory Modern, New York, Osborne Samuel Gallery (2015); Art Miami, Osborne Samuel Gallery (2014); 4 Contemporary Artists, Osborne Samuel Gallery, London (2014); Open Books, University of New South Wales, Canberra, Australia; Logan Regional Art Gallery, Queensland, Australia; The Chinese University of Hong Kong Art Museum, Hong Kong, China (2014-2015); and Walk On: from Richard Long to Janet Cardiff, 40 Years of Art Walking, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland, England; MAC Birmingham, England; The Atkinson, Southport, England; and Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, England (2013-2014). Burns’s work is held in numerous public collections including: The National Museum and Galleries of Wales (The Derek Williams Trust); The Contemporary Art Society of Wales; A Fundación Casa Museo ‘A Solaina’ de Pilono, Spain; and The Contemporary Art Society of Britain (Tom Bendhem Bequest). His artwork is included in private collections across Australia, China, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Mexico, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

has also been named Welsh Artist of the Year in 2000 and 2003 and received the Gold Medal in Fine Art at The National Eisteddfod of Wales in 1993 and 1998. He currently holds the position of Painting and Drawing lecturer on the Contemporary Arts Practice course at Bath Spa University in England. Burns lives and works in Cardiff, Wales.

Rosenberg & Co. ©2016

In 2013 he was awarded the Creative Wales Arts Council Major Award. Among other accolades, he


B

B IOG R APH Y

rendan Stuart Burns was born in 1963 in Nakuru, Kenya. He studied fine art at Cardiff School of Art & Design (1981–1985), and undertook a graduate degree in painting at The Slade School of Art, University College London (1985–1987). In 2011, Burns completed his PhD in fine art at the University of Glamorgan, Wales: ‘Shadow into Parent Light: Beyond Pembrokeshire, beyond Landscape.’ Burns has exhibited both nationally throughout the United Kingdom and internationally, including in the United States, Australia, Belgium, France, Spain, and China. His recent solo exhibitions include Gesture | Glimpse | Memory, Osborne Samuel Gallery, London (2015); Glimpse, National Botanic Garden of Wales, Llanarthne and St. David's Hall, Cardiff, Wales (2012); and Influere, Oriel Y Parc – Landscape Gallery, St Davids,Wales (2009), where he exhibited works produced over the course of a year-long artist residency alongside selections from the National Museum Wales. Other solo shows include Tidal, Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown,Wales (2005); Not the Stillness..., National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, Oriel Clwyd, and Newport Museum & Art Gallery,Wales (2002); As well as Being..., National Museums & Galleries of Wales, Turner House Gallery, Cardiff (1999). He has shown widely in group exhibitions, including recently: Ooze: sculptural ceramics in porcelain, Craft in the Bay, Cardiff, Wales (2016); The Armory Modern, New York, Osborne Samuel Gallery (2015); Art Miami, Osborne Samuel Gallery (2014); 4 Contemporary Artists, Osborne Samuel Gallery, London (2014); Open Books, University of New South Wales, Canberra, Australia; Logan Regional Art Gallery, Queensland, Australia; The Chinese University of Hong Kong Art Museum, Hong Kong, China (2014-2015); and Walk On: from Richard Long to Janet Cardiff, 40 Years of Art Walking, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland, England; MAC Birmingham, England; The Atkinson, Southport, England; and Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, England (2013-2014). Burns’s work is held in numerous public collections including: The National Museum and Galleries of Wales (The Derek Williams Trust); The Contemporary Art Society of Wales; A Fundación Casa Museo ‘A Solaina’ de Pilono, Spain; and The Contemporary Art Society of Britain (Tom Bendhem Bequest). His artwork is included in private collections across Australia, China, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Mexico, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

has also been named Welsh Artist of the Year in 2000 and 2003 and received the Gold Medal in Fine Art at The National Eisteddfod of Wales in 1993 and 1998. He currently holds the position of Painting and Drawing lecturer on the Contemporary Arts Practice course at Bath Spa University in England. Burns lives and works in Cardiff, Wales.

Rosenberg & Co. ©2016

In 2013 he was awarded the Creative Wales Arts Council Major Award. Among other accolades, he


Brendan Stuart Burns: Flow & Pulse  
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