Last night in SACI’s Maidoff Gallery the exhibition of recent works on paper by Ellen Burchenal opened. Burchenal is an artist who works in painting and drawing. An instructor at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and a visiting instructor at SACI, she has lived and studied in Italy on and off for over 17 years. She has exhibited and lectured in numerous galleries and universities throughout Maryland. Burchenal has received several Maryland State Arts Council Artist Fellowships, and she completed a public art commission “Undercurrent” in the Baltimore Shot Tower metro station in downtown Baltimore. She lives with her husband and son in Baltimore, Maryland.
Ellen gave an informal talk in the gallery about her two bodies of work on exhibit: Festina Lente series, 2012, digital prints, and Hotel Drawings, 2009-2012, digital facsimiles of original ink and paint pen drawings. This is her artist statement that accompanies the works:
As coordinator of the MICA Sorrento, Italy Summer program, I have spent the last 17 summers on the Bay of Naples. Yet my introduction to Italy began much earlier. At age 19 I went to study in Rome by accident, and after that I continued to take long trips there whenever possible. I was exposed to a degree of ornamentation and passionate conversation that was contrary to my taste and upbringing.
Now, in Sorrento each year, I experience the extravagance of baby blue and gold ballrooms, pink sports newspapers, giant lemons, Pompeian floor mosaics, the Neapolitan language, and an active volcano. All of this is very real in southern Italy – the comedy/ tragedy, the illusion, and the violence of unseen forces. It is this hilarity of form, the illusion of it, and the forces that act upon it that interest me.
The Hotel Drawings are a series of lap-sized drawings of decorative mirrors or frames. (In this exhibition these small pieces are also digital copies of the original ink drawings.) In 2008, as MICA faculty in residence with the SACI program, I lived in the center of Florence, Italy. I was struck by how the decorative architectural forms literally elbowed me out into the street. So I have been experimenting with techniques to make the lap sized drawings as big as I am. The ink jet prints shown here, the Festina Lente series, are part of this on-going exploration of layering digital images on a larger scale.”
ELLEN BURCHENAL: RECENT WORKS ON PAPER
JANUARY 17 – FEBRUARY 17, 2013
Open Monday – Friday, 9am – 7pm
Saturday & Sunday 1-7pm
Admission is free
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