It Is What It Isn't: An Interview with Gary Burnley, Collage Artist—Exhibition Opens tonight at Amarillo Museum of Art
Thanks to Alex Gregory, curator of the Amarillo Museum of Art, for bringing collage artist Gary Burnley by the studio today for a conversation about his new exhibition, "Stranger(s) in the Village," opening tonight at 6:30p CT at AMoA. We discussed art history, representation, mixed media compositions, his juxtaposition of imagery, and why this show was almost titled "Charlie Parker with Strings."
Tonight in Amarillo, come out for the opening reception of the latest exhibition at Amarillo Museum of Art: Stranger(s) in the Village.Named for the famed James Baldwin essay, the artist Gary Burnley works in the space between art history and lived experience, bending images through mixed media. His work uses collage as a language, interpreting the visual representations of his subjects through a new lens, conjuring for them new universes. Burnley's stunning portraits become original inhabitations evoking questions of identity, class, gender, race, place, and time.
Join the celebration of this new work at the opening reception TONIGHT, Friday, February 10th at 6:30pm CT. If you're not available, don't worry! The art will be on display through March 26th, so make a plan to stop in. This exhibit has been sponsored by Art Force.
To hear the full interview with Alex Gregory (AMoA) and Gary Burnley, click the link at the top of this page.
WHAT THE ARTIST HAS TO SAY ABOUT THE EXHIBIT: “The world of most Western museums was created for and is meant to be consumed by white audiences. The history of art has largely reduced ‘Others’ to an uncomplicated characterization of a stranger in the world of the white man’s imagination, a shadowy figure without a gaze, a presence or a voice. Whiteness is and has been the exemplar of beauty, curated, maintained and preserved in museums, excluding non-whites except in reference to a vanishing past or less than desirable future.
I think of being an artist as a way of trespassing where historically ‘Others’ have not been welcomed nor seen as belonging. If one of the primary functions of any image is to validate and give permanence to the world it describes and to the persons that inhabit that world, the physicality of collage allows me to, materially and psychologically, construct a world of my specification. A world of previously uninhabited territory where I am able to share context, content, dividends, features, traits, reason and consequences in the eye and mind of the viewer. A world where I am free to traverse time, conflate and query a variety of sources, upending expectations and modifying vernacular.” — GARY BURNLEY
ABOUT THE ARTIST: Gary Burnley (b. Saint Louis, Missouri) creates physical collages and stereographic devices that encourage dissociated images to merge in the eye and mind of the viewer. Resulting in optical rivalries that explore representation, memory and an image’s meaning through contrast, his amalgamations imagine strange bedfellows congruent for moments in time, space and reason. Burnley received a BFA from Washington University in St. Louis and an MFA from Yale University. His work is part of many museum and private collections in US including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston, TX, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN., Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina. He has been included in many solo and group exhibitions including at Aperture Gallery, NYC, Ogden Museum, New Orleans, LA, Elizabeth Houston Gallery, NYC, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR, Tbilisi University, Tbilisi, Georgia, Candela Gallery, Richmond, VA, SALON, Florence, Italy, Artists Space, NYC. Burnley is the recipient of individual artist fellowships from National Endowment for the Arts, the State of Connecticut, the New York State Council for the Arts and the Creative Artist Public Service Program. He has been awarded public commissions by the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority and the St. Louis Bi-State Development. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College, where he has held both the Burke Chair in Art and Art History and the Whittmore Chair in the Visual Arts. As a recipient of the 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship, the artist would like to acknowledge and thank The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, The Aftermath Project and Light Work, Syracuse, NY, for their generous support.