Tom Burckhardt: Recent Work includes a selection of the artist’s new abstract paintings on cast plastic, as well as 173 Elements of Painting, a large-scale wall installation comprised of individual oil paintings on discarded book pages.
The recent series of cast paintings is a continuation of artistic concerns first addressed by Burckhardt in Slump, a series from 2007-08, for which he fabricated canvases out of cardboard and Variform, a thermoplastic gauze.
For the new paintings, he begins by creating a faux “canvas” support from plastic resin poured into a handmade mold. The cast canvases are complete with stretcher bars on the reverse and tromp l’oeil painted thumbtacks and canvas folds along the sides. From this false beginning, Burckhardt creates complex, imaginative, and subtly humorous compositions that question the very nature of painting and what is real and unreal. “I consider this good-natured humiliation a great place to start,” says the artist. “Almost like embedding doubt in the physical material of the support.”
Although abstract, the paintings’ imagery suggests references to architecture, landscape, and human forms, often invoking a sense of pareidolia, a psychological phenomenon whereby the viewer sees a face or some other familiar image in an abstract pattern. “Rather than veering away, like a good and pure abstractionist, I steer into this territory,” says Burckhardt.
Accompanying the selection of cast paintings is 173 Elements of Painting, an installation that the artist says can be thought of “as similar to the periodic table in chemistry—elemental parts that can be combined to form larger compounds.”
Tom Burckhardt lives and works in New York and Maine. He is a graduate of Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and State University of New York at Purchase. His more than twenty solo exhibitions include recent shows at Tibor de Nagy and Caren Golden Fine Art, in New York; Gregory Lind Gallery, San Francisco; The Weatherspoon Museum, Greensboro, SC; and the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT.
Burckhardt has been the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Grant (1997, 2005), a Guggenheim Foundation Grant (2009), a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (2011), a NYFA Grant (1996), and a Marie Walsh Sharpe Studio Grant (1992). His work has been featured in several publications, including Artforum, Art in America, The New York Times, The Brooklyn Rail, Village Voice, and The Boston Globe.
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 2, 5-7pm.