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Maurice Burns
Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Recommendation by Amanda Malloy


Maurice Burns, "After Callejón de Hamil, 2016, oil on canvas, 56" x 76"

Continuing through December 31, 2017

 

Romare Bearden said, “[j]azz has shown me the ways of achieving artistic structures that are personal to me, but it also provides me continuing finger-snapping, head-shaking enjoyment ...” It’s clear the impact jazz and blues music had on Bearden’s work, and a similar expressive musicality and movement can be applied to Maurice Burns’ exhibition “A Vibrant Refrain.” Bright colors and a strong sense of movement permeate the artist's oil paintings, which portray Cuban nightclubs, portraits of boogie-woogie idols like Jimmy Yancey and likenesses of jazz icons like Thelonious Monk. All are captured with a vibrancy and rhythm as infectious as a Dizzy Gillespie improvisation.

 

Formally trained at the Rhode Island School of Design, and the Royal College of Art in London, Burns has spent the past couple of decades in Santa Fe, originally arriving to set up a visiting artist program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. While desert life influences many of his paintings, “A Vibrant Refrain” focuses specifically on Burns’ musically inspired compositions. In four paintings which resemble a Warhol-esque study of Yancey, Burns experiments with form and color while always maintaining an impressive figurative style. More large-scale and dynamic works like “Illegal”, portray nightclub settings in hot reds and cool blues, while incorporating deft composition and line to maintain the painting‘s momentum. Burn’s paintings will make you want to put on a jazz record and turn your living room into a dance hall.


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