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Brendan Stuart Burns

Brendan Stuart Burns paints luscious abstractions of landscapes, magically capturing their pure essence. Using only a palette knife to paint, he mixes oil and wax until the viscosity is tantamount to luscious frosting. Metallic solvents and a turpentine wash enables him to yield an etheric base layer over a raw linen canvas. His paintings are sophisticated abstractions from afar, and a joy to explore up close.

Biography

For more than half his lifetime now, Brendan Stuart Burns has been drawn to the Pembrokeshire coast of Wales, specifically to the area around St Brides Bay, to which he has returned constantly, in all seasons and in all weathers. The spectacular drama of this coastline results in large part from its diverse geology, much of it comprised of volcanic rock and sandstone, its cliff faces, stacks and arches sculpted by the sea over millennia.

The shoreline is ever changing, the calligraphy of its flotsam and jetsam rewritten with each turn of the tide, in a perpetual sequence of revelation. Burns finds solace in his solitary journeys, often returning to the exact same spots, to a particular corner of a beach, or an individual rock; to what he refers to as key points, likening his re-visitations to a rosary, or lament. Whilst walking he enters a process of sensory meditation: ‘breathing and being’, imbibing both the physical and the metaphysical. And over time, he has developed an intimate relationship with this coastline, to arrive at what he describes as: ‘a point at which place becomes about yourself; it becomes a mirror for your refracted self.’

Driven by a need for deep human connection with nature, and an attendant awareness of its fragility, this existential communion with the land has enabled him to map the contours of his own physical, emotional and spiritual life, and in doing so to form the wellspring of his art.

Burns has stated that his work is: ‘underpinned by the central issues of absence, isolation, mortality and the spiritual.’ Stemming from personal experience, these themes have applied since student days, and continue to resonate within his practice. Though brought up in a religious family, he withdrew from the church whilst a young adult. Subsequently, there gradually grew in him a longing for the spiritual, a striving ‘for something bigger than God’. And eventually this became reflected in his work, notably in the compositional sparseness that began developing in his paintings, where it served as a metaphor, signifying both absence and questioning. The artist compares this to the contemplative minimalism of a Zen garden, equating it also to the question of the relationship between figuration and abstraction in his work. Burns’ sources are in both the natural world and in a philosophical life of the mind, resulting in paintings that operate at points somewhere between abstraction and representation.

Burns’ work then relates to both the tangible and the metaphysical and in this, perception — of both eye and mind — is fundamental. One’s peripheral vision is less focused, less guarded, and therefore perhaps more sensitively attuned. As Burns has explained, for him: ‘sometimes the peripheral vision is stronger than clarity of focus.’

Burns deliberately avoids any implication of horizon, for he is keen to prevent suggestion of a more literal, less allusive space. In point of fact, many of his canvases are composed so that their painted shapes lie parallel to the picture plane, as though it were held up like a quivering veil or membrane.

Burns completed his PhD, Shadow into Parent Light: Beyond Pembrokeshire, beyond Landscape, in 2011. Publications include: Glimpse, including essays by Mel Gooding, Tony Curtis, Sally Moss and Anne Price-Owen (2012); Into Painting by David Alston and Mel Gooding, published by Seren (2008).

Born

1963  Kenya


Education

2011 PhD, Shadow into Parent Light; Beyond Pembrokeshire, Beyond Landscape.

1987 Postgraduate Painting, Slade School of Art, University College London.

1985 First Class BA (Hons) Degree in Fine Art, UWIC, Cardiff.

1982 Foundation Studies, UWIC, Cardiff.


Awards

2020 Artist in Residence, Earthskin, New Zealand.

2014 Creative Wales Arts Council Major Award to research new materials including ceramics and glass at the National Glass Centre, University of Sunderland.

2008-09 First Artist in Residence, Oriel y Parc, Landscape Gallery, St Davids.

2007 The Richard and Rosemary Wakelin Purchase Award, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea.

2005 Innovation Award, The Big Draw, Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown.

Wales Arts International Funding travel award, Venice Biennale.

2004 Wales Arts International to participate in VII Xuntanza Obradoiro Internacional das Plasticas, A Solaina Pilono, Galicia, Spain.

2003 Welsh Artist of the Year.

2001 Arts Council of Wales grant to participate in ‘Different Lights, UKwithNY, Angel Orensanz Arts Centre, New York.

2000 Welsh Artist of the Year.

1999 University of Glamorgan Purchase Prize.

1998 Gold Medal in Fine Art, National Eisteddfod of Wales, Bro Ogwr, Bridgend.

1997 Friedrich Konekamp award for painting.

1993 Gold Medal in Fine Art, National Eisteddfod of Wales, Llanelwedd, Builth Wells.

1992 Welsh Arts Council Travel Scholarship, New York, USA.

1991 Artist in Residence Llanfrechfa Grange Mental Health Unit, Cwmbran.

1989 Welsh Arts Council Travel Scholorship, Florence, Italy.


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2021 Caldwell Snyder, St Helena, California.
         Artis Gallery Summer Show, Auckland, New Zealand.
         Auckland Art Fair, Artis Gallery, New Zealand.

2020 

2019 'Edging West' New Paintings and Ceramics, Osborne Samuel Gallery, London.

          New Paintings, Rosenberg & Co, New York.

2018 Recent Paintings, Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh. In collaboration with

          Osborne Samuel Gallery, London.

2016 ‘Flow & Pulse’, Painting, drawing and ceramic, Rosenberg & Co.

New York.

          ‘Ooze’, New Ceramics, Craft in the Bay, Cardiff.

2015 Gesture | Glimpse | Memory, Osborne Samuel Gallery, London.

2014 ‘Pulse’, Oriel Myldan, Cardigan.

2012 ‘Glimpse’, St Davids Hall, Cardiff.

          ‘Glimpse’, National Botanical Gardens of Wales, Carmarthenshire.

2011 Kooywood Gallery, Cardiff.

          One-man show, Oriel Ynys Mon, Anglesey.

          ‘Shimmer’, Oriel Myrddin, Carmarthen.

2009-10 ‘Influere’, Oriel y Parc, Landscape Gallery St Davids. Curation of works from the residence alongside significant inspiration from the collections at National Museum of Art Wales.

2009 ‘Tidal’, Oriel Clwyd, Mold.

          ‘New works’, Atrium, University of South Wales Cardiff.

2008 Oriel Q Gallery Narberth.

          ‘Tidal’, Kettering Museum & Art Gallery, Kettering.

          ‘Liquid Light Series’, Cynon Valley Museum & Art Gallery.

          ‘In View’, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea. Works selected by David Alston from the National Museum of Art Wales permanent collection.

2007 New Works, Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Cwmbran.

2006 ‘Spindrift’, Kooywood Gallery, Cardiff.

2005 ‘Tidal’ Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown.

          ‘The Taste of Sight’, Kooywood Gallery, Cardiff.

2004 Price Waterhouse Coopers, Cardiff.

2003 ‘Not the Stillness…’ Newport Museum and Art Gallery.

          ‘Not the Stillness…’ Oriel Clwyd, Mold.

          ‘Not the Stillness…’ selected works, Rhondda Heritage Park.

          ‘Not the Stillness…’ National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.

1999 Museum of Modern Art Wales, Mychynlleth.

          ‘As Well as being…’ National Museum of Art Wales, Turner House Gallery.

1995 Wyeside Arts Centre, Builth Wells.

1992 Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Cwmbran.

1991 ‘The Florentine Experience’, The Powerhouse Gallery, Laugharne.


Selected Public And Private Collections

National Museum and Galleries of Wales, (Derek Williams Collection.) • A Fundacion Casa Museo “A Solaina” de Pilono, Galicia, Spain. • Contemporary Art Society of Wales. • Contemporary Art Society of Britain (Tom Bendhem Bequest). • University of South Wales. • Owen Taylor, Gallery of Modern and Contemporary British Art, Warwick. • Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea • Associated Newspapers for Museums Collection.  • Leicestershire Education Authority. • Wyn Thomas Gordon Lewis Architects, Cardiff. • South Glamorgan County Council Collection. • Oriel y Parc, St Davids, National Museum Wales & National Parks Authority. • Celtic Manor Hotel & Conference Centre, Newport. • Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Wales. • St German’s Church and Rectory, Cardiff.

Press

PRESS

Selected Artworks

Into the Mystic

Into the Mystic

Oil on Linen

55 x 67 inches

23670

May Blossom

May Blossom

Oil on Linen

47 x 71 inches

23611

Whitesands

Whitesands

Oil on Linen

51 x 79 inches

23609

Seam

Seam

Oil on Linen

Diptych 51 x 126 inches

23608

Pink Squall

Pink Squall

Oil on Linen

63 x 79 inches

23253

Drift

Drift

Oil on Linen

43 x 31 inches

23047

Twiddle

Twiddle

Oil on Linen

31 x 43

23043

Whaler's Cove

Whaler's Cove

Oil on Linen

Diptych 59 x 94 inches

23035

Blaze

Blaze

Oil on Linen

35 x 43 inches

220328

Scald

Scald

Oil on Linen

35 x 43 Inches

220321

Laden

Laden

Oil on Linen

63 x 79 inches

210643

Drizzle

Drizzle

Oil on Linen

63 x 79 inches

210029

Born

1963  Kenya


Education

2011 PhD, Shadow into Parent Light; Beyond Pembrokeshire, Beyond Landscape.

1987 Postgraduate Painting, Slade School of Art, University College London.

1985 First Class BA (Hons) Degree in Fine Art, UWIC, Cardiff.

1982 Foundation Studies, UWIC, Cardiff.


Awards

2020 Artist in Residence, Earthskin, New Zealand.

2014 Creative Wales Arts Council Major Award to research new materials including ceramics and glass at the National Glass Centre, University of Sunderland.

2008-09 First Artist in Residence, Oriel y Parc, Landscape Gallery, St Davids.

2007 The Richard and Rosemary Wakelin Purchase Award, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea.

2005 Innovation Award, The Big Draw, Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown.

Wales Arts International Funding travel award, Venice Biennale.

2004 Wales Arts International to participate in VII Xuntanza Obradoiro Internacional das Plasticas, A Solaina Pilono, Galicia, Spain.

2003 Welsh Artist of the Year.

2001 Arts Council of Wales grant to participate in ‘Different Lights, UKwithNY, Angel Orensanz Arts Centre, New York.

2000 Welsh Artist of the Year.

1999 University of Glamorgan Purchase Prize.

1998 Gold Medal in Fine Art, National Eisteddfod of Wales, Bro Ogwr, Bridgend.

1997 Friedrich Konekamp award for painting.

1993 Gold Medal in Fine Art, National Eisteddfod of Wales, Llanelwedd, Builth Wells.

1992 Welsh Arts Council Travel Scholarship, New York, USA.

1991 Artist in Residence Llanfrechfa Grange Mental Health Unit, Cwmbran.

1989 Welsh Arts Council Travel Scholorship, Florence, Italy.


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2021 Caldwell Snyder, St Helena, California.
         Artis Gallery Summer Show, Auckland, New Zealand.
         Auckland Art Fair, Artis Gallery, New Zealand.

2020 

2019 'Edging West' New Paintings and Ceramics, Osborne Samuel Gallery, London.

          New Paintings, Rosenberg & Co, New York.

2018 Recent Paintings, Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh. In collaboration with

          Osborne Samuel Gallery, London.

2016 ‘Flow & Pulse’, Painting, drawing and ceramic, Rosenberg & Co.

New York.

          ‘Ooze’, New Ceramics, Craft in the Bay, Cardiff.

2015 Gesture | Glimpse | Memory, Osborne Samuel Gallery, London.

2014 ‘Pulse’, Oriel Myldan, Cardigan.

2012 ‘Glimpse’, St Davids Hall, Cardiff.

          ‘Glimpse’, National Botanical Gardens of Wales, Carmarthenshire.

2011 Kooywood Gallery, Cardiff.

          One-man show, Oriel Ynys Mon, Anglesey.

          ‘Shimmer’, Oriel Myrddin, Carmarthen.

2009-10 ‘Influere’, Oriel y Parc, Landscape Gallery St Davids. Curation of works from the residence alongside significant inspiration from the collections at National Museum of Art Wales.

2009 ‘Tidal’, Oriel Clwyd, Mold.

          ‘New works’, Atrium, University of South Wales Cardiff.

2008 Oriel Q Gallery Narberth.

          ‘Tidal’, Kettering Museum & Art Gallery, Kettering.

          ‘Liquid Light Series’, Cynon Valley Museum & Art Gallery.

          ‘In View’, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea. Works selected by David Alston from the National Museum of Art Wales permanent collection.

2007 New Works, Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Cwmbran.

2006 ‘Spindrift’, Kooywood Gallery, Cardiff.

2005 ‘Tidal’ Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown.

          ‘The Taste of Sight’, Kooywood Gallery, Cardiff.

2004 Price Waterhouse Coopers, Cardiff.

2003 ‘Not the Stillness…’ Newport Museum and Art Gallery.

          ‘Not the Stillness…’ Oriel Clwyd, Mold.

          ‘Not the Stillness…’ selected works, Rhondda Heritage Park.

          ‘Not the Stillness…’ National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.

1999 Museum of Modern Art Wales, Mychynlleth.

          ‘As Well as being…’ National Museum of Art Wales, Turner House Gallery.

1995 Wyeside Arts Centre, Builth Wells.

1992 Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Cwmbran.

1991 ‘The Florentine Experience’, The Powerhouse Gallery, Laugharne.


Selected Public And Private Collections

National Museum and Galleries of Wales, (Derek Williams Collection.) • A Fundacion Casa Museo “A Solaina” de Pilono, Galicia, Spain. • Contemporary Art Society of Wales. • Contemporary Art Society of Britain (Tom Bendhem Bequest). • University of South Wales. • Owen Taylor, Gallery of Modern and Contemporary British Art, Warwick. • Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea • Associated Newspapers for Museums Collection.  • Leicestershire Education Authority. • Wyn Thomas Gordon Lewis Architects, Cardiff. • South Glamorgan County Council Collection. • Oriel y Parc, St Davids, National Museum Wales & National Parks Authority. • Celtic Manor Hotel & Conference Centre, Newport. • Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Wales. • St German’s Church and Rectory, Cardiff.

For more than half his lifetime now, Brendan Stuart Burns has been drawn to the Pembrokeshire coast of Wales, specifically to the area around St Brides Bay, to which he has returned constantly, in all seasons and in all weathers. The spectacular drama of this coastline results in large part from its diverse geology, much of it comprised of volcanic rock and sandstone, its cliff faces, stacks and arches sculpted by the sea over millennia.

The shoreline is ever changing, the calligraphy of its flotsam and jetsam rewritten with each turn of the tide, in a perpetual sequence of revelation. Burns finds solace in his solitary journeys, often returning to the exact same spots, to a particular corner of a beach, or an individual rock; to what he refers to as key points, likening his re-visitations to a rosary, or lament. Whilst walking he enters a process of sensory meditation: ‘breathing and being’, imbibing both the physical and the metaphysical. And over time, he has developed an intimate relationship with this coastline, to arrive at what he describes as: ‘a point at which place becomes about yourself; it becomes a mirror for your refracted self.’

Driven by a need for deep human connection with nature, and an attendant awareness of its fragility, this existential communion with the land has enabled him to map the contours of his own physical, emotional and spiritual life, and in doing so to form the wellspring of his art.

Burns has stated that his work is: ‘underpinned by the central issues of absence, isolation, mortality and the spiritual.’ Stemming from personal experience, these themes have applied since student days, and continue to resonate within his practice. Though brought up in a religious family, he withdrew from the church whilst a young adult. Subsequently, there gradually grew in him a longing for the spiritual, a striving ‘for something bigger than God’. And eventually this became reflected in his work, notably in the compositional sparseness that began developing in his paintings, where it served as a metaphor, signifying both absence and questioning. The artist compares this to the contemplative minimalism of a Zen garden, equating it also to the question of the relationship between figuration and abstraction in his work. Burns’ sources are in both the natural world and in a philosophical life of the mind, resulting in paintings that operate at points somewhere between abstraction and representation.

Burns’ work then relates to both the tangible and the metaphysical and in this, perception — of both eye and mind — is fundamental. One’s peripheral vision is less focused, less guarded, and therefore perhaps more sensitively attuned. As Burns has explained, for him: ‘sometimes the peripheral vision is stronger than clarity of focus.’

Burns deliberately avoids any implication of horizon, for he is keen to prevent suggestion of a more literal, less allusive space. In point of fact, many of his canvases are composed so that their painted shapes lie parallel to the picture plane, as though it were held up like a quivering veil or membrane.

Burns completed his PhD, Shadow into Parent Light: Beyond Pembrokeshire, beyond Landscape, in 2011. Publications include: Glimpse, including essays by Mel Gooding, Tony Curtis, Sally Moss and Anne Price-Owen (2012); Into Painting by David Alston and Mel Gooding, published by Seren (2008).

Brendan Stuart Burns
Biography

Press

Brendan Stuart Burns paints luscious abstractions of landscapes, magically capturing their pure essence. Using only a palette knife to paint, he mixes oil and wax until the viscosity is tantamount to luscious frosting. Metallic solvents and a turpentine wash enables him to yield an etheric base layer over a raw linen canvas. His paintings are sophisticated abstractions from afar, and a joy to explore up close.

Brendan Stuart Burns

Brendan Stuart Burns paints luscious abstractions of landscapes, magically capturing their pure essence. Using only a palette knife to paint, he mixes oil and wax until the viscosity is tantamount to luscious frosting. Metallic solvents and a turpentine wash enables him to yield an etheric base layer over a raw linen canvas. His paintings are sophisticated abstractions from afar, and a joy to explore up close.

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